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Hungary; Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Photo supplied

Hungary scraps gender studies, citing a lack of demand

Hungarian universities may soon stop offering degrees in gender studies, Hungarian media reported. There seems to be very little demand for the degree in the job market.

Published: August 12, 2018, 10:41 am

    Budapest

    The Ministry of Human Resources has found that “the demand for graduates of ‘gender studies’ in the Hungarian labor market cannot be demonstrated”.

    The Hungarian government has demanded that the two universities still offering the degrees comment on the proposed scrapping of the course, according to hvg.hu. A government office has cited no demand for the degree in the job market, according to several Hungarian media outlets.

    At the beginning of the week Hungarian universities received 24 hours from the Ministry of Human Resources(EMMI) and the Ministry of Justice (IM) to comment on the proposed amendment, it was reported on Friday. Proponents of the gender studies course have criticised the government for only giving them 24 hours to comment on the draft regulation.

    The amendment will target two universities: Hungary’s biggest state-funded university ELTE, and the Central European University, founded by George Soros. As the CEU offers both Hungarian and American degrees, the amendment will not affect the latter.

    The Ministry of Human Resources told a Hungarian news outlet that there was absolutely no interest in gender studies graduates in the Hungarian job market, and that the course was therefore economically irrational.

    EMMI believes that the course does not offer useful knowledge, but serves other interests outside employment. According to the ministry, gender studies diverts resources away from other courses, undermining the economic viability of institutions of higher learning.

    Members of the Orban government have been criticising the course, saying that the coursework is “an ideology more than a science”. Bence Rétvári, Secretary of State of EMMI, said that university degrees must be rooted in a scientific basis. Gender studies, he said, was “like Marxist-Leninism” and thus inappropriate for university-level education.

    The ministry stated, as reported by hvg.hu: “We can reasonably assume that it was not in response to the needs of the labor market and not for the students to gain knowledge rapidly and directly.”

    Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs told Fox News: “There is no economic rationale for studies such as these, and so we have reason to presume that it was not created in response to labor market needs, and equally not to furnish students with skills that can be readily and directly converted on the labor market.”

    According to Kovacs, “state universities operated from public funds must take this into consideration as the purpose of these higher education institutions is to meet genuine social and labour market needs”.

    The ministry also cited the “low attendance” registered for the programme. Only 11 applicants were admitted this year into the gender studies program at ELTE, which has a cap of 18 students, and two more at George Soros’s CEU.

    Several Christian Democratic members of the government have agreed with the EMMI assessment.

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