National Institute for Public Education, Hungary
The foundation of the National Institute for Public Education (OKI) in 1990 was part of the democratic transformation of Hungarian public education. A new national institute came about, involved in research, development and services in the field of public education, with responsibilities determined by the ever changing needs of a diverse, multi-player system of public education. The governments that founded and maintained OKI expected assistance in the modernisation process of an increasingly pluralistic Hungarian public education and professional support - both to the educational administration working on the improvement of public education and to those on the institutional and local levels working on the innovation of public education.
The Institute has been an active player in the transformation process of Hungarian public education and helped work out and implement several important national provisions. The range of national educational institutes has changed considerably since the Institute's foundation. New responsibilities emerged, new organisations came about to perform them and the resources of research and development have greatly increased. The National Institute for Public Education has also been affected by these trends: it has been reorganised several times in the rapidly changing educational environment, resulting in fewer responsibilities, smaller size and an altered professional role. National development in the field of public education is now performed by a number of independent institutes - one of them being the National Institute for Public Education - working as partners of one another.
In accordance with the mid-range research and development plans of OKI and its new charter issued in 2000, the Institute is engaged in research and development activities that aim to improve the efficiency of public education. The Institute assists in making professionally well-founded decisions, improving school teaching and learning, strengthening the innovative ability of education and integrating Hungary's school structure into the European educational environment. As a background institute of the Ministry of Education, the Institute makes efforts in order that the government's provisions prove to be a success in renewing education. Besides - and in harmony with - activities performed at the request of the government, the Institute is involved in research and development projects in cooperation with Hungarian and international organisations and, occasionally, by individual appointment as well.
We aim to be effective in creating and distributing the background knowledge necessary to operate the increasingly complex and rapidly changing system of modern public education. We believe that this requires a great deal of openness. That is why we make efforts to take the multidisciplinary approaches best suiting the current problems of education, encourage cooperation with professionals working in the field and build contacts with players of the economy and society outside the field of education. We intend to improve education by making partnerships not only with national institutes of education, but with all players - such as private enterprises offering educational services, local governments, churches - who accept our cooperation. Both in professional debates taking place within the Institute and in outside communication we intend to engage in such objective, well-informed and open dialogues that inspire new ideas and help find new sorts of solutions to future challenges.
The responsibilities of the National Institute for Public Education
The aim of research and development done by the National Institute for Public Education is to continuously renew Hungarian public education, assist its adaptation to current professional and social requirements, support the decision-making process in educational matters and finally to accumulate and spread knowledge concerning public education and its social environment. Our objectives further involve finding new solutions in actual pedagogy as well as educational policymaking, developing and distributing modern programmes that may result in an increased efficiency of education and contribute to the improving quality of education. OKI is also expected to explore social expectations concerning the content of public education, develop content requirements, analyse their fulfilment and carry on research thereof, as well as promote international contacts of Hungarian public education.
A number of research projects aid the improvement of the system of public education. OKI performs research that supports mid- and long-term governmental planning and decision-making in the field of public education as well as SWOT analyses. Research activities involve other interdisciplinary and pedagogical research and analysis serving as the foundation of developing public education as well as supporting the Minister of Education in performing his legal obligations. The Institute also publishes a report "Education in Hungary".
The Institute is engaged in research and development activities in public education and in related areas and its activities include pre-school, primary and secondary education as well as lifelong learning. The Institute's responsibilities further involve the education of students with special needs, the education of the Roma minority, developing programmes providing equal chances and doing research and development that aim to modernise the content and methods of school education and adult education.
OKI is responsible for modernising the content of public education, for developing programmes that support certain school subjects and cultural domains and for developing the content and methodology of out-of-class teaching. A part of this is piloting model programmes and pedagogical systems, performing school-level development and doing research that help enhance the efficiency of teaching and learning.
The Institute is involved in providing professional assistance to teachers, among others by developing and organising in-service teacher training programmes and by contributing to the in-service training of school management.
Distributing the results of research and development activities has particular significance for OKI - a task performed by publishing a monthly journal and books as well as electronic communication.
Building and maintaining international contacts is a high priority for the Institute. We are actively involved in developing various databases of OECD and providing statistical data on Hungarian education. The Institute is an important member of CIDREE, the organisation of European institutes of educational research.
The organisational structure of the National Institute for Public Education
The National Institute for Public Education is a background organisation of the Ministry of Education. Its operation is mainly financed by the budget, but the Institute has access to other financial resources through international research tenders, which helps perform its research and development activities.
The Institute operates on the basis of an annual work plan and on the basis of a three-year mid-term plan. A Consultative committee consisting of senior researchers and executives of the Ministry aids the plans and strategic planning.
The Institute has 66 employees, 37 of whom are directly involved in research. There are 8 senior researchers.
The Director General of the Institute is Gábor Halász; the Deputy Director General is Julianna Borsi-Wolf.
OKI's activities take place in three centres for research and development; the Directorate General, the Publishing Centre and the Finances department assist them.
The organisational units of the National Institute for Public Education