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Would you support the introduction of a scheme like the one described below? (around 50000 forints per semester, poorest 20% exempted; please read the argument below before voting)
Yes. 11%  11%  [ 3 ]
Yes, with slight modifications. 15%  15%  [ 4 ]
I would support the introduction of tuition fees, but along entirely different lines. 7%  7%  [ 2 ]
No. 15%  15%  [ 4 ]
No: free higher education does promote social equality and therefore it should stay. 19%  19%  [ 5 ]
No: a fee of 50000 forints is too much for students and too little to solve the problems of ELTE. 30%  30%  [ 8 ]
The system is fine as it is, I don't see what the fuss is all about. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
I don't know. 4%  4%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 27
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 4:57 am 
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szigetva wrote:
http://www.es.hu/pd/display.asp?channel=PUBLICISZTIKA0540&article=2005-1009-2045-45KVDT


... with whitch I more or less agree.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 9:40 pm 
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http://www.es.hu/pd/display.asp?channel ... 045-45KVDT

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:30 pm 
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"Kádáresque?" LOL

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 9:19 am 
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0219, I think it is you who is misguided.
We ARE paying for all the things you find unworthy of paying for, and more - thru taxes. As a result, everything is like the Gumpian box of chocolates: you never know what you're gonna get. There's no real accountability. The best example would be the health care system which in theory is totally fair yet you cannot tell whether a little (or not so little) hálapénz would mean better treatment. And even if you pay some extra, there's absolutely no accountability whatsoever.
Actually this system is very much like the communist one where everything was financed from the big central pocket without any sort of accountability (sorry, but this is the key word here). And most stuff was owned & run by the state. Very inefficiently. Now which political party is advocating so fiercely for the reintroduction of massive public ownership…? So stop talking about communist degenerates.
And please don't start talking about what kinds of t-shirts are o.k. for wearing... come on. This is so very Kádáresque.

If you take a look at the western countries, their welfare system is a lot more realistic, including tuition fees. After all, having a college degree does mean more chances in life so it is only fair if we pay for it. Maybe the Diákhitel should be the prime source for paying the fee. Then it would not be hurting anyone.

About the "rigorous process of screening out the fake poor", how would you do it? Every applicant should be followed around by an agent who checks if s/he is really poor? Wouldn't be too efficient I'm afraid (would be very Kádáresque though...) Systems like this are by definition inefficient but necessary to a point -- that is why they should be streamlined. Not eradicated, mind you. But (and there's a great but here) middle class people like you and me should not expect the sült galamb. Don't fool yourself: genuinely poor people in Hungary have no chance of getting into college because they do not have an érettségi. (And to tell the truth, 99 percent of people I see at ADS and MUK are suspiciously middle class...)

As for vandalism, I do believe that in the long term it's better if we are constantly reminded by the tandíj that it is us who are paying for everything so we'd better not break stuff. (And you do agree that broken stuff should be fixed, don't you?) My point is: in one way or another we're paying for everything in this country -- so why not make it more transparent and fair by lowering taxes and introducing fees for the services we actually use and benefit from?


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2005 12:32 am 
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halmtomi wrote:
I've just found a very interesting article on higher education in The Economist, a London-based weekly comparable to our HVG. Actually it's a bunch of articles. You can read it for free here (under the title A survey of higher education). The article on the situation in Europe is especially worth reading.


It was very interesting, thanx! at last we don't feel like we're the only ones who's univ.s are, well, "not flexible enough"?

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 7:08 pm 
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I've just found a very interesting article on higher education in The Economist, a London-based weekly comparable to our HVG. Actually it's a bunch of articles. You can read it for free here (under the title A survey of higher education). The article on the situation in Europe is especially worth reading.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 5:03 am 
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Blaise, your enthusiasm would be admirable if it weren’t so misguided. I almost like your approach, but your suggestion that tuition fees be introduced is a non sequitur to your valid observations concerning the state of things at SEAS. Think of the problems you have noted (apathy, dishonesty, entitlement mentality) as holes in a barrel. If you have a barrel full of great big holes, it makes no sense to try to fill it up with water by turning the garden spigot on to the max, hoping that the amount of water pouring in will exceed the amount of water flowing out. It is much better to fix the holes first. For instance, you would like to see “bathrooms [. . .] improved to a level where it’s possible and SANITARY to use them.” Great idea. Now, how much money do we need to teach the hordes swarming across this campus that urinating all over toilet seats, using the walls of the stalls as billboards for homosexual services, and smashing mirrors are—contrary to what the more “progressive” elements seem to believe—not to be considered acceptable forms of self-expression? My answer: not a dime. This is not a money issue. Sure, once the miscreants have been dealt with, one could actually fix up the restrooms, but until then, it would be tossing pearls before, well, featherless bipeds who don’t appreciate them. You also mention that some students “get various social aids sometimes not in entirely honest ways.” I think your claim actually supports my anti-fee stance more than it supports your position. Let me be a little blunt here. I see no reason to subsidize the drug habits (pot, tobacco, alcohol), fashion/political statements (piercings, commie t-shirts, leather trench coats), and entertainment demands (parties, concerts, movies) of “needy” students, many of whom would promptly thank me for my largess by voting communist secret agents and other degenerates into positions of power. They get too much money as it is. I know there are genuinely poor people in Hungary, and many of them are in a tough situation through no fault of their own. I believe people who have the brains but not the bucks to spend several years of their lives as students at an institution of higher education deserve assistance. However, without a rigorous process to screen out the fake poor, tuition fees would simply mean more money to be squandered. I could go on and on, but I reckon you can catch my drift. I think you agree with me that we cannot solve problems by throwing money at them. Where we differ is that I want to see decency and accountability before accepting any kind of tuition fee scheme. Judicious use of the resources that are available now might convince me that the demand for further resources is justified.

I’m not very good with words, so if y’all don’t agree with me after reading all this, then you should know that I’m a lot more convincing in person. Womenfolk say it’s my eyes, but I think it’s my aroma—a powerful mix of dog saliva, horse sweat, and gunpowder.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 12:14 am 
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Many thoughts worth pondering upon in Blaise's post, to which I would not like to comment on very deeply (it is way too late for that), but rather add a personal experience.

I do share the thought that one of the largest problems here is with students' approach to everything. I spent my first years at ELTE trying to get to know about things, how to get around and so on, and I think I succesfully achieved that as even now people are coming to ask me (and I do not know from where they get the tip to come to me) about even the most trivial matters of ELTE, the credit system, now ETR, whatever.
In my second year, I spent a considerable amount of time with trying to get students off their backsides and doing things they wanted to achieve but only went as far as rambling about it to peers.

And I failed at that. I had to realize that people didn't really want to do anything. They said they did, they didn't. They wanted to ramble. Ramble, grumble, and complain. No offense to anyone, but this really was (and is) the main defining principle of the Faculty of Arts student. Yes, I know, that is only on the outside, since meanwhile there is much to learn, people have to take care of themselves, have to solve their personal problems and so on. Still, in my experience, it doesn't take too much effort at all to get to know a few basic things.

So I gave up on trying to collaborate with others to achieve something, as after many times I was made to feel like I was trying to recruit a Sancho Panza or two, if you see what I mean. Now I feel that until the basic approach of people changes from the pessimistic, passive inside-looker to something else, there is not much hope for change. Yes, it is a cultural problem, a generation problem, it is a type of looking at things that is strengthened by how people react to problems in general. Until the "Everything is just done to us and we cannot do anything against it but protest and rebel" viewpoint shifts, there is not much to be achieved in my view.

Sorry for all the late-night rambling :)

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 11:33 pm 
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Take it easy, Norbi. 8) This guy really has a rather self-confident style (some might even call it arrogant), but I'm sure his intentions are good. And what he says is worth considering, even if if the way he says it is a bit exasperating for most of us.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 8:41 pm 
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Dear Blaise,

Halmtomi has hinted at the main point. This issue is cultural to a great extent (and far too complex+sensitive). One question that came to my mind when reading your lines: If you have so many problems with ELTE and its students then why are you here???

Dear halmtomi,

I couldn't agree more.

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 Post subject: Re: tuition f(r)ee
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 8:01 pm 
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Hi Blaise! I agree with 95% of what you have said (which may not be surprising :) ). However, there is one thing you forget: the level of taxation is much higher in Hungary then it is in the US and Ireland, so citizens in turn may expect to receive a wider range of free services from the state. So tuition fees should be definitely lower than in the US.

Also, your idea of students bringing paper etc is very romantic and would be feasible in a smaller community but big systems like ELTE just cannot work like this.

Also keep in mind that Hungary used to be an egalitarian socialist country for decades, so most people, even the younger generations grow up with the idea that free higher education follows from the natural order of things. Which is most probably wrong, but it's a nice idea in theory, and it's quite normal that people stick to ideas they grow up with. Also don't forget that your 'Western' way of thinking could be labelled a box as well, only your box is probably much closer to reality than the other. :)


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 Post subject: tuition f(r)ee
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 5:01 pm 
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Hi everybody!
I just read this whole thread and I thought i'd weigh in on this discussion and give you guys my two cents' worth. I think you view this whole issue from a very Central/Eastern European point of view, and as much as it is fitting and normal I'd advise you all to try and think out of the box for a split second here!
As you very well know colleges in the Sates and Western Europe charge their students ASTRONOMICALLY high tuitin fees in part/or wholly because they might or might not be government subsidized. However, one has to note that MOST of these colleges that charge high tuition fees ARE government subsidized to some extent and MOST of them have their own foundations or supporting body (various and sundry comapnies that take interest in skimming off the cream -that is the most outstanding students- each year for internship or other purposes). At any rate, it has become the general assumption in Hungary (and other Eastern European countries, i have to say) that it is the RIGHT of the student to go to college AND get various social aids as well as compensation for their hard work... also known as Scholarship money in this neck of the woods. However, let me break it to those of you how are reluctant to see further than the end of your nose: college education is a PRIVILEGE and most definitely NOT a right that everyone's entitled to. I see several college students (several SEAS students to be more exact) who go to college only as a means to avoid having to get a job... as being college students they are eligible for the glorious invention of Student Loan, they can -- without sweating their guts out -- get "Scholarship" money from the university even for a rather poor 3.5 GPA (and we're talking 5.0 highest here), get various social aids sometimes not in entirely honest ways and if they manage to scrape through college then a nicle little booklet stating that they achieved something -maybe not summa cum laude- and become part of that rather wide stratum of the educated elite of Hungary...
BUT what it all comes down to: students sometimes see the university as a cow ready to be milked and then slaughtered by it's own inefficiency. You think your university cannot offer you what you deserve or what you think would be an "up-to-snuff" college education or a surroundings conducive to your willingness to do more, be active, and work harder? I have to say YOU'RE DEAD CENTER! Although, again I'd like for you all to think out of the box here! I see NO viable student life in ELTE whatsoever... aside from the benders that are organized sporadically by the "alkies' association" of the rather ill-reputed Faculty of Humanities. You know, some say "you make your own education at ELTE." I would say that statement is strikingly true. Kind of like a vending machine: you put in your 100 Forint coin and it spouts out something depending on what button you pushed. The degree to which one appreciates his/her college education is how much they have to work to get what they WANT. College is not the place where you're entitled to your rather arrogant: "BUT I DESERVE IT AND DESERVE THE BEST" position. Either one concedes to see this or not but that doesn't change the point. College is inherently the kind of institution that SHOULD NOT be tuition free. Or, if it is... like in Ireland for example, then there should still be at least some curbs to spur students on to actually appreciating their college education, or rather to value it more than they do... let's say in ELTE. In ALL colleges in the tuition-free Ireland students pay about 700 EUR annually for administrative and other expenses (such as library use, the use of various sports facilities, etc.) -translate that into Hungarian money and you get around 168.000 HUF per annum-, they pay rather hefty amounts for room and board (about 300 EUR monthly) AND they pay for each re-take, each repeat-course, and they are scrutinized VERY closely (by means of testing) to see who deserves to remain tuition-free and who doesn't. Of course you might be thinking now: But the GDP per capita in Ireland it about 2,5 times as high as it is in Hungary. You're right, that's true but that does not invalidate my point. I maintain that a tuition fee -or name it what you want and what you can reconcile yourself with- commensurate to the financial capabilities of Hungarian college students would by all means be a welcome and reinvigorating change - if it were ever to be implemented.
Again... college is not your sugar mama or your horn of plenty. The administration most definitely manages the money they get from the government very poorly. But students don't give anything to the betterment of the univeristy either. You all can keep talking about this 24/7 for the next decade to come but the crux of the story is that students at ELTE love to gripe and moan and groan and point fingers but they'll do nothing to take things into their own hands and take the initiative.
I also think that it's a ridiculous number what one of you posted on here... only 5% of the people that go to ELTE live with their parents rather than having to provde for themselves. That number would be appropriate in an American context but in Hungary I think the ratio's a little higher, don't you think?
All in all... I maintain my point that ELTE studenst should do a lot more for their university than what they do now. A rather famous quote comes to mind: Ask not what your contry can do for you, ask what you can do for your country! Put that in the university context and you'll see what I mean.
From a smattering of money from each SEAS student the Institute could be redecorated, renovated, maybe even the bathrooms could be improved to a level where it's possible and SANITARY to use them... maybe teachers would have paper to print on; and these are only some of the things that could be improved... think on all this a little -
And ask now that SEAS (or for those of you who go to other institutes as well fill in the gap: _______) can do for you, ask what YOU can do for SEAS!
I can already see how some of you who are reading this are getting ready to hit the roof and inundate me with messages to put me back in my place. But, if you give it all some thinght you'll see that I'm not completely out of my mind. There are little things you can do for your college. There are ways you can help improve SEAS and it might not even be financially. Some of you might want to go to one of the lecture rooms and vamp it up a little. Some of you might want to propose in class that everyone bring a couple sheets of paper to give to the teacher so you have paper to write on when taking in class tests and the like.
At the end of day, those of you who just go on griping about the university and do nothing to improve it... those of you how moan and groan about the quality and state of the university but won't take the first step to help make it better are all just a bunch of hot air -- and by saying that I was very euphemistic.
If you read this and you think I might not just be spewing up impassioned nonesense borne on the spur of the moment then feel free to email me and I'll expound upon my views a little further.

For now, thank you who read this!
Blaise


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 1:06 am 
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halmtomi wrote:
clarika wrote:
Weahter the work of BTK is beneficial economically or not... Well, I'm not the right person to decide on that... :oops:


Still, a community can decide in a (supposedly) democratic way whether it wants to spend public money on causes which are not economically beneficial. There are many things like that: fireworks are totally useless but most people seem to like it so it is financed by the state.

On the other hand, if we once totally democratically asked people whether they want to keep the Tibetan department or spend the money on health care (or even fireworks), well, I don't think Tibetan would be the winner.


Oh, sure, I couldn't agree more! What I wanted to say, that there are faculties of ELTE that are financed purely for economic reasons. Actually, I do want our gov. to pay for arts researchments since I want to live from that, too :lol: !


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 5:40 pm 
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halmtomi wrote:
szigetva wrote:
On the other hand, there are considerations which a financial expert will never understand, like why science is important despite the fact that it does not produce immediate profit (or any material profit ever).


Not all Közgáz- (or even finance) educated people are culturally illiterate, materialistic brutes. Believe me, I am one. :D

Okay. I had ELTE's current such person (let me not name him here) in mind. I admit I was unjustly generalizing.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 5:34 pm 
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clarika wrote:
And which is totally illegal since the university should ask for no extra money except for "költségtérítés", as far as I'm concerned.


Oh don't be so legalistic! After all, we are bölcsész people, aren't we? :D Try to look at it another way: that's what really makes SEAS a community. It's like a big family: we share what we have, carry one another's burdens, next winter, everybody will bring along some fuel as well and we'll be sitting around camp fires in the seminar rooms. :D

(and of course, költségtérítéses people, after having payed 90 thousand bucks, being excluded from practically all scholarships like köztársasági, where they could get some of their money back, are expected to contribute as well - but that's only for the record, these sums are really minor)

clarika wrote:
Weahter the work of BTK is beneficial economically or not... Well, I'm not the right person to decide on that... :oops:


Still, a community can decide in a (supposedly) democratic way whether it wants to spend public money on causes which are not economically beneficial. There are many things like that: fireworks are totally useless but most people seem to like it so it is financed by the state.

On the other hand, if we once totally democratically asked people whether they want to keep the Tibetan department or spend the money on health care (or even fireworks), well, I don't think Tibetan would be the winner.

szigetva wrote:
Why there should be people teaching Tibetan or Serbian at ELTE to a handful of students.


Come to think of it, why not send Hungarians interested in Serbian to follow Serbian studies in Novi Sad, Beograd or Nis? In exchange, universities in Hungary would take Serbians interested in Hungarian studies. The whole thing would be governed by a bilateral agreement between the two states.


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