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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: Fri Feb 11, 2005 4:00 pm 
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halmtomi wrote:
Which means that in a sense, you are already paying for your supposedly free education but in muddled, embarrasing and unorganized way.


And which is totally illegal since the university should ask for no extra money except for "költségtérítés", as far as I'm concerned.

szigetva wrote:
So there is a dilemma here, which can be solved only if a country is so rich that it can have tax payers accept that they have enough surplus to spend on the useless luxury called science.


Or, actually, financing e.g. TTK is beneficial for our country's economics, as far as I'm concerned, since they are engaged in the development of many fields of industry from pharmacology to electronics. These research programmes are either made in a contract with a company or financed by the government, called "alapkutatás" i.e. they are not needed for the exact areas but for developement as a source. Therefore many faculties (including IK, TTK, TáTK or even ÁJTK and some fields of PPK) form a very important base to our economics. Whether the work of BTK is beneficial economically or not... Well, I'm not the right person to decide on that... :oops:


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:16 am 
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Adam Dobay wrote:
And at the same time we are asked by our seminar teachers to provide them with enough money for their paper use and photocopying. Which is of course natural but still, there are other expenses that are more than absurd. Doing anything at ELTE to reduce costs would take effort from all sides but I'm feeling that no one is really doing anything, and us, students, cannot do much more than we do now.


Which means that in a sense, you are already paying for your supposedly free education but in muddled, embarrasing and unorganized way.

szigetva wrote:
So there is a dilemma here, which can be solved only if a country is so rich that it can have tax payers accept that they have enough surplus to spend on the useless luxury called science.


Well, countries like the US or Holland or Switzerland are quite rich and students still have to pay for tuition there (as far as I know).

And concerning the anecdotal evidence about money being thrown out of the window all the time: cutting costs is indeed necessary, but the real problem seems to be structural and cannot be solved just by increasing efficiency. (The whole thing is a bit like BKV: it is inefficient, but the reason it's totally bankrupt is that it cannot raise prices for supposedly humanitarian reasons. Of course, the subsidies it gets time to time from the state are payed by the citizen too. And of course that system is unsustainable as well.)

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


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 9:55 am 
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szigetva wrote:
It is not easy to understand why this feature of the system is not used.


I think no one thought of it, and I must say that many simply do not care. I have met not many who were up-to-date (and not even up-to-1995) of such technical matters. Two semesters ago I had to do something at one of the TO's branches, where after a few moments I was explaining to the person at the computer what exactly to push and so on.

Quote:
It is also difficult not to see that a couple of months ago all the windows of the director's office in the German Institute were changed. When daily expences are a problem, and SEAS head of departments and directors are buying envelopes for their departments and biscuits and soft drinks for visitors of their own taxed salaries, this is quite irritating.


My favourite are the multiple rows of computer-managed electronic doors on the main corridors of MÚK building A that have the sign "DO NOT CLOSE" on them. Those were installed about the time when I was a first grader, and according to my quick calculations they cost at least two million HUF. And what exactly is their use? Nothing.

And at the same time we are asked by our seminar teachers to provide them with enough money for their paper use and photocopying. Which is of course natural but still, there are other expenses that are more than absurd. Doing anything at ELTE to reduce costs would take effort from all sides but I'm feeling that no one is really doing anything, and us, students, cannot do much more than we do now.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 9:23 am 
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You are right. In fact the phone system of the university is such that it would be possible to allow calls only after entering a given personal code, which would make it clear who is spending how much on calls where. (Multiple wh.) It is not easy to understand why this feature of the system is not used.

It is also difficult not to see that a couple of months ago all the windows of the director's office in the German Institute were changed. When daily expences are a problem, and SEAS head of departments and directors are buying envelopes for their departments and biscuits and soft drinks for visitors of their own taxed salaries, this is quite irritating. But this is just my tub-thumping reasoning. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 9:07 am 
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szigetva wrote:
In short, a university is not exactly like any other profit-oriented company and accordingly should not be treated so.


Thanks for pointing that out, I have clearly forgotten to think about that side of the question. I was thinking of financial experts halfway through the two extremes of the profit-oriented moneyman and the incapable scholar. I am aware that strictly on financial matters, three quarters of BTK could be closed right away.
On the other hand, there do exist these items on the 'bill' like the international phone calls which I know of, which truly could be cut down on without having to be a financial expert.
So I do agree that giving the whole university to businessmen who do not care about anything else than profit is absurd (although I do not know of explicit means to do so), but I also think that the constant hammering of the Ministry as the only source of the problem is totally unfair, as there is much to clean up here before asking for more money.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 8:50 am 
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Adam Dobay wrote:
It would definitely improve the situation if finances were to be handled by people who actually studied how to handle finances in this age.
Yes and no. You are certainly right that people who can't manage an institution should not be let do so. 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). Why there should be people teaching Tibetan or Serbian at ELTE to a handful of students. Why it is crazy to fire people based on whether their contract expires, not on what they are doing (or what they are not doing). Of course, if you fire somebody whose contract has not expired, it means all kinds of extra costs. In short, a university is not exactly like any other profit-oriented company and accordingly should not be treated so.

It must also be admitted that it is very easy for incapable scholars and teachers to hide behind arguments like those listed above. So there is a dilemma here, which can be solved only if a country is so rich that it can have tax payers accept that they have enough surplus to spend on the useless luxury called science.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 12:19 am 
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Quote:
I think you are right here. And it's sort of ironic that (as far as I know) there has even been a student demonstration against these comissars. So much for student power.


Which demonstration, by the way, was the most laughable that I had ever seen. It was unorganized, unapproved by any members of the HÖOK, and protested against twelve parts of the first draft of a law, out of which, if I correctly, nine or ten did not ever exist.

Quote:
What you write about the conditions most students are in is probably correct too. But on the other hand, if you look at the system with zillions of students studying free and their numbers steadily rising, it does not seem to be financially sustainable in the long run (it's a bit like the coming collapse of the pension system).


There is no need for the numbers to rise in such a manner - for one, I still cannot find a solution to why the Registrar accepted a hundred more students to SEAS than they should have, and I have seen such absurdities as 93 students accepted for the 25 places available at this year's Film History major.
I also find it pathetic that ELTE students lose many of their privileges if they do not choose to become teachers when there are 10% more teachers in this country already then is needed.
So how I see it is that certain things are out of date.

Quote:
Maybe my analysis is wrong and the present system is sustainable with better financial management.


It would definitely improve the situation if finances were to be handled by people who actually studied how to handle finances in this age.

Quote:
That would be wonderful, but capitalism just doesn't seem to work like that: there must be some reason why most western universities have tuition fees.


Maybe because they have toilet paper and heating in the winter?

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:43 pm 
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Adam Dobay wrote:
,What is needed to help ELTE in my view is what is proposed by many 'up there' currently, is that the whole budget has to be looked at by professionals in finances, and perhaps reorganized. I know this is exactly what was referred to as "the coming of Bálint Magyar's komissaars" in a flyer that was put even in the Dean's news board. But as far as a normal student as I, who doesn't know much about the whole business of ELTE's finances, can see into what's going on, it seems only rational that why such money is missing from the budget every year is looked into. (Note that by saying this I do not intend to give this post any political side whatsoever.)


I think you are right here. And it's sort of ironic that (as far as I know) there has even been a student demonstration against these comissars. So much for student power.

What you write about the conditions most students are in is probably correct too. But on the other hand, if you look at the system with zillions of students studying free and their numbers steadily rising, it does not seem to be financially sustainable in the long run (it's a bit like the coming collapse of the pension system). Which of course is sad, but probably that's reality and the sooner we face it the better. So the whole thing really seems to boil down to this: in an ideal world, masses of students would be studying entirely free at non-bankrupt, non-decrepit universities. But out of these three wishes, you can only have two at a time in reality. Which is of course a very hard choice.

Maybe my analysis is wrong and the present system is sustainable with better financial management. That would be wonderful, but capitalism just doesn't seem to work like that: there must be some reason why most western universities have tuition fees. Maybe we in Hungary can find some 'third way', but it doesn't seem likely to me.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:06 pm 
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I am sorry to say this but I am on the exact contrary to the suggestion, and for multiple reasons.

First of all, as far as I have looked into the financial workings of elte - and I uphold my right to be in error - , I have found that it is not much more than a very good story we are told about the extremely little money we are supposedly getting. Most people I have talked to, who in higher positions at ELTE have said to me that it is not the sum of the money that is given to btk and elte as a whole, but what it is used for.

For example, I was told that two years ago tens, perhaps hundreds of millions of HUF have went away for academic-to-academic international phone calls (I reckon this data even surfaced in a newspaper article about ELTE). While that kind of international contact is necessary, most of that money could be saved by means of broadband internet, costing perhaps 10K HUF a month and through freeware telephone software the whole problem can be solved. And this was just one idea.

Let's say three thousand students pay that fee. That makes not more than 1.5 billion HUF. Which is, if I calculate correctly, not much more than one twentieth of the annual money given to ELTE by the ministry. On the other hand, only about five percent of the students I know live in either their own apartments or that of their parents or relatives, and most of them have to pay their rents, bills, and the other expenses related to living and the university. I seriously doubt that most of us would have a spare 50K per semester, and not because of greediness, but because that 50K may - like in my own case - used to put away in hope of purchasing an apartment of about 40 square meters in the next six years. Which may or may not be possible in the conditions that are present in this country right now.

I think the introduction of this kind of tuition would not help. What is needed to help ELTE in my view is what is proposed by many 'up there' currently, is that the whole budget has to be looked at by professionals in finances, and perhaps reorganized. I know this is exactly what was referred to as "the coming of Bálint Magyar's komissaars" in a flyer that was put even in the Dean's news board. But as far as a normal student as I, who doesn't know much about the whole business of ELTE's finances, can see into what's going on, it seems only rational that why such money is missing from the budget every year is looked into. (Note that by saying this I do not intend to give this post any political side whatsoever.)


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 Post subject: Re: let's pay tuition fees
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:02 pm 
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LizFerris wrote:
Good for you! Why don't you switch to 'költségtérítéses' and you can donate as much money as you want? I think we in the 'államilag támogatott' group have the reason to be here.


The point I wanted to make is that there are many people here who could admit paying a really modest tuition fee and that they (and only they) should do so, because it is simply not right for well-to-do people to pretend that they are poor and in effect 'steal' part of the money which is really meant for people who actually need it.

Of course, those who can't afford it should have the opportunity to study free, but I mentioned this several times in my original entry.

halmtomi wrote:
Those really in need, e.g. the neediest 20 percent of students, could be automatically made exempt from paying the fee.


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 Post subject: Re: let's pay tuition fees
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 9:46 pm 
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halmtomi wrote:
iii) Most of us come from middle class families or above.


Good for you! Why don't you switch to 'költségtérítéses' and you can donate as much money as you want? I think we in the 'államilag támogatott' group have the reason to be here.


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 Post subject: let's pay tuition fees
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 4:17 pm 
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Why?

i) Our faculty (and university) has been on the brink of bankruptcy for years and is literally falling into parts (at least physically).

ii) At most universities all over the world, students pay tuition fees.

iii) Most of us come from middle class families or above.

Thus, paying a modest sum in tuition fees (fifty thousand forints per semester, say) would be

i) necessary: the system of entirely free higher education is simply not working

ii) affordable for most of us: either with parental help, or diákhitel, or part-time work, or the combination of the three (although parental help would be sufficient for most of us). Those really in need, e.g. the neediest 20 percent of students, could be automatically made exempt from paying the fee.

iii) the right thing to do (again, for those of us who can afford it): it is simply dishonest to hide behind the notion of equality, social justice and all that stuff when the present system obviously benefits the better-off: the really poor guys drop out at high school or even earlier and don't even think of going to university. (Of course, there are notable exceptions.) That means, most of the taxpayer money flowing to universities benefits the better-off, which does not really promote equality and social justice, to put it mildly.

So my suggestion is this: let's do away with the present system and introduce tuition fees (with the exemption noted above)! The rewards are promising:

for those of us who can afford it (i.e., the vast majority): a better university and a clearer conscience in exchange for an affordable sum of money :)

for those genuinely in need: a better university for no extra money at all :)

(I'm serious.)


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