Community and Social Capital in Hungarian Denominational Schools Today

Gabriella Pusztai


Church schools have played a fundamental role in Hungarian education for centuries.The collaboration between church and state was characterised by co-operation and adivision of tasks. As a result of the Communist takeover, however, church schools werenationalized in 1948. Only 10 of them were allowed to exist under strict constraints,mainly as a display for the West. Nevertheless, in the wake of political change, the early1990s witnessed a flurry of founding or the re-establishment of church schools. Naturally,the phenomenon became a focus of general interest, and though heated public debateaddressed even issues of what had been going on behind the scenes in the 1980s, littleunambiguous evidence on the social background and pupil achievements of these schoolshas been established. Now that the “warlike atmosphere” of disputes over schools hasabated, the aim of this paper is to contribute to the study of the social function ofdenominational schools in the Hungarian educational system.

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