In the spring of 2016, Hungarian schools could voluntarily join the initiative of the Ministry of Human Capacities, and organise thematic project weeks, choosing one of the following topics: 1. financial education, 2. digital education and 3. education for sustainability.
Hungary joined the European Money Week, held between the 7th and 15th March 2016. Hungary first joined this initiative in 2015 (together with 23 other countries), and due to the success of the program, 788 schools joined this year. The main topic was financial planning and budgeting. The partners of the Ministry were the Hungarian Banking Association and the Money Compass Foundation of the MNB (Magyar Nemzeti Bank). The thematic week involved a teachers’ CPD training course, competitions, special lessons and online support materials helping teachers to organise such activities. Study materials of the money week were peer-reviewed by the experts of the Hungarian Institute for Educational Research and Development. Volunteer experts could sign up and go to schools to hold programs about financial literacy.
The Digital Thematic Week was held between the 4th and 8th April 2016, coordinated by the ICT Association of Hungary (IVSZ) and the Association of IT for Society (Infotér). The association also provided 12 project toolkits, a collection of good practices and pedagogical support materials on their website, preparatory webinars for teachers wishing to join and a helpdesk for methodological and technological questions. 786 schools joined the program. Students learned about a chosen intercurricular topic through digital tools. Schools could naturally come up with their own project ideas, the best of which were awarded. ICT and telecommunication companies could join the program on a voluntary basis, and get involved in educational digital projects, that is, they offered free programs and non-promotional materials. The objective of the Ministry is to promote digital pedagogy in schools and thus contribute to the development of digital skills. Some developer companies offered prizes for the school who uses their software in the most innovative way.
The third thematic project week (sustainability education) is currently held, from 18th until the 22nd of April. Partners of the Ministry of Human Capacities for organising this week are, besides our Institute, the Educational Authority, the PontVelem Nonprofit Kft. and the Tokaji Ferenc Secondary School of the Vocational Education Centre of Szerencs. The major patron of the thematic week for sustainability education is János Áder, President of the Republic. The objective of the program is to convey the message of the Earth Day, and to engage students for the cause of environment protection. Through the activities of the week, students learn how to get involved in the safeguarding of the values and diversity of our environment as active and responsible citizens. Programs of the week include a drawing and a waste collection competition, thematic lessons and presentations in schools as well as sustainability championship. The topic for students in years 1-4 are the course of paper from production to recycling, whereas students in years 5-8 will explore ecological footprint and the course of food from its production until its consumption/waste. Secondary school students’ topic is global environmental challenges. A national online quiz will close the program. Also, free thematic lesson plans and support materials are available on the website of the Sustainability Week, which involve both curricular and extracurricular activities, and modern (digital, interactive) pedagogical methods. A conference organised by our Institute will be the closing event of the week, on the 22nd April, the international Earth Day.
The programs of the 3 thematic project weeks are all in line with the national core curriculum, which identifies financial and digital skills and sustainability consciousness as main developmental areas. The program of the thematic weeks involve all age groups in schools.
Another upcoming event is the Day of Girls on 28th April 2016, organised by the Women in Science Association. This is an international career orientation day with interactive programs for secondary school students, to encourage girls to pursue career paths in natural sciences, engineering and information technology. Research laboratories, science universities and companies organise various open activities for girls on that day.