Finance Minister Mihály Varga has revealed that the Hungarian government is spending more on higher education than ever before.
During a ceremony at Budapest’s Óbuda University marking the start of the academic year, the minister said spending on higher education has doubled compared with 2014, noting that Hungary’s higher education budget has amounted to 1.2 percent of GDP compared with the European Union average of 0.8 percent. Counting the country’s science parks, the Hungarian higher education sector will receive HUF 960 billion (EUR 2.7bn) in funding next year, equivalent to 1.7 percent of GDP, the minister said.
The finance minister said the government will also provide Hungary’s higher education institutions with a combined HUF 2,700 billion that they have requested for developments for the coming years. The leaders of a country have a duty to invest in knowledge, as this is in the country’s economic interest, he added. Hungary’s government expects universities to play a key role in the country’s R&D activities and the area of innovation, and to move up the international rankings. The new operational model that sees universities shifting from being state-run to being operated by foundations serves to boost competitiveness, give them a more flexible operating environment and greater professional independence, he said.