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Reform in Hungary introduces a system of university chancellors

As of September, some amendments to the higher education bill have introduced a new system of university chancellors in Hungary. The new system envisages a new structure where each of the 28 state-funded universities will be assigned a chancellor centrally appointed by the prime minister. The chancellor will be responsible for the economic management of universities and colleges, for employing the staff (with the exception of scholars and researchers) and will report directly to the Minister of Human Resources. 

The new amendment of the law on higher education is also introducing additional changes concerning the appointment of university rectors: it would not be necessary to hold a doctorate to become rector of a university. In the field of sport and recreation studies a medal won at the Olympics, Deaf-Olympics or Paralympic games would be equal to a PhD degree, as well as it will be considered a PhD equivalent to hold "a prize awarded on the basis of a government or ministerial regulation”. 

Even though the Minister of Human Resources says that the new system will not affect the autonomy of instruction and research - and the self-government of universities- these measures have received a controversial welcome from Hungarian academics, opposition MPs and trade unions. In particular it was denounced a lack of consultation of the Higher Education Roundtable during the legislative process, and there is a general feeling that the system of chancellors represents a violation of university autonomy while the appointment rectors system is pushing forward a political aspect of appointment instead of scholarly and professional aspects.