Based on an Action Research

The EU Knowledge of
Secondary School Students
in Hungary:
Based on an Action Research
Miklós Horváth
AUGUST 30, 2014, Babeș-Bolyai University
Research Method
Aim: to examine the quality and quantity of knowledge
Field research: November and December 2013
219 students, 6 secondary and 2 vocational schools (BUD)
Data: a lecture of 45 minutes (interaction), questionnaires
Conclusions / implications
Results: New Pedagogical Review, Hungarian Institute for
Educational Research and Development, Ministry of
Human Resources, 2014 (3-4). 69-78.
Review of Existing Literature
• Kariko Sandor (2001): Az europai dimenzio es az europaisag. Új
Pedagógiai Szemle, 7–8. sz. 242-247.
Vass Vilmos (2000): Az europai dimenzio pedagogiai
megkozelitesei. Új Pedagógiai Szemle, 12. sz. 108-119.
Bathory Zoltan (2000): A kozoktatas europai dimenzioi. In
Zarandy Zoltan (szerk., 2000). Európa az iskolában – az iskola
Európában: Kézikönyv az oktatás európai dimenziójáról.
Simon Katalin és Gaspar Mihaly (2013): The Increase in EU
Knowledge of Pedagogues and Students Taking Part in the
Expanding Horizons Project.
Mihaly Otto (2002): Az EU-dimenzio: tantervek, programok es
az adaptacio lehetősegei. Új Pedagógiai Szemle, 4-15.
Horvath H. Attila és Vass Vilmos (2002): Az europai oktatasi
programok hazai adaptacios lehetősegei. Új Pedagógiai
Szemle, 1. sz. 16-24.
Varga Eszter (2007): Kompetenciafejlesztes: az Europai Unios
ismeretek szerepe a munkaerő-piaci megfelelesben. Új
Pedagógiai Szemle, 11. sz. 118-121.
1) Students knowledge on the European Union, its
institutions, the history of its development, and its
political and economic activities
• The large majority of students, i.e. 68%, claimed that they
did not have any, or had only a little knowledge on the EU.
Only 32% felt that they heard a lot about the Union and
had the sufficient knowledge to form an opinion on EU
• Students know the historical development of the EU while
have little knowledge as regards to the political actors, the
EU institutions and the decision-making processes.
• Providing more information on the functioning of EU
institutions, the reasons for their existence, their
headquarters, main steps of the development of European
integration, the EU treaties and those events which have
Hungarian relevance (while avoiding indoctrination)
• Grade 12: 52% (so, more than the half) of the 92
respondents (those who will soon leave school) claimed
that they know little or nothing at all about the EU. 48% of
them heard a lot about the Union.
• 50% of students felt that their knowledge significantly
developed during my lecture about the institutional
framework of the EU.
• the knowledge of the majority of students did not develop
notably in the course of years.
2) Students and the European Parliament
• 57% of the 219 students claimed they would participate in
EP elections if they reach the voting age.
43% would not or unsure
Reasons of hesitation: they do not know much of the
mission of the EP or the stake of elections
Don’t feel that they could change anything or influence the
development of European politics with their votes.
Improvement: explanation of the mission of the EP, what it
means it is the only directly elected EU institution, whom
they vote for in every 5 years and what the elected
members of the EP do.
• Grade 12: 62% of students would vote while 38% would
not or unsure
• Grade 9-11: 54% would vote, 46% would not or unsure
• Grade 12: 38% demonstrate a slight change in the attitude
but interest did not increase significantly (compared to the
• They did not know the majority of the Hungarian members
of the EP, they did not recognize their political affiliations or
the exact numbers of the deputies delegated to the EP.
3) Europhile or Eurosceptic?
• 53% of the respondents consider themselves to be
Europhile, 15% identify themselves with the term
Eurosceptic while 32% are not able to decide
• Grade 12: 50% Europhile, 21% Eurosceptic, 28% unsure
• The advantages as well as the disadvantages of EU
membership should be explained to students so that they
could form a strong opinion.
Challenges and Opportunities
• Hungarian national curriculum is vast.
• Secondary education does not talk much about the present
(contemporary developments).
• Teachers should encourage students to follow media
• Online and printed media: concentrate on EU politics
• Hungarian representations of the EP and EC: increase
visibility and resources
• Government and opposition parties (political and economic
circumstances) should display a stronger commitment to
European unity
Thank you very much
for your attention!