Letter: Hungary shows ambition with its university reforms
Regarding your article “Hungarian law hands over cultural goods to Orban’s allies, critics say” (Report, April 28), it is not surprising that the political opposition is critical of higher education reforms. It signals their contentment with mediocrity and lack of vision.
Hungary is a country without natural resources, such as oil, gas or minerals. Its only resource is the ingenuity of the Hungarian people. This small country has delivered a surprising number of Nobel and Abel Prize winners, and the next one might just be around the corner. Hungarian biochemist Katalin Kariko is one of the brains behind the mRNA technology that is the basis of the BioNTech / Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. Yet, you won’t find any Hungarian university in the top 200 institutions, no matter which global ranking list you check out.
This is the challenge that the Orban government has decided to take up. Most of the most prestigious universities in the world are owned and managed by foundations, such as Harvard or Stanford in the United States.
The move from public universities to foundation-owned ones is a bold reform designed to improve their performance and put Hungarian universities on the world map. It will not limit but extend the autonomy of these institutions and is quite possibly the best investment for the future of this country.
Andreas D Stefanovszky