Policy support for DCA /Hungary

19 November 2018
Policy support for DCA /Hungary

Policy support for management of national / club based DCP / Hungary/Hungarian DCA Guidelines

Policy support for management of national/club-based dual career programmes

Source : Sport Éducation Formation : un double projet pour une double vie

Sport, education and training in Europe, Dual career for dual life – EU funded project

Development and system of athletes’ dual career in Hungary



In Hungary, sport and education has been going hand-in-hand since 1777, when physical education was put into the elementary school curriculum as a recommended subject. Since 2011, it is set in the Public education law, that elementary and secondary school students have to have daily curricular physical education (PE) classes, while the extra-curricular sports programmes are also well-organised in the all-day school system. The local sports partnerships are flourishing, as the school sports facilities are not able to serve all needs of the morning-time PE and the afternoon’s sport programmes. All major sport federations and clubs have received multiplied financial resources to be able to cover the extra costs generated by the raising demands.

High-level sport has deep roots in Hungary, especially in some traditional summer Olympic sports, such as fencing, kayak-canoe, swimming, water polo and handball. In the all-time summer Olympic medal table Hungary is ranked 8th, which means the highest percentage of Olympic medallists compared to the countries’ population among the most successful sporting countries43.

Three major areas of intervention

This boosted PE and sports system calls for more actions in the field of athletes’ dual career. Firstly, to keep as many secondary schoolers in competitive sports as possible by making them/their parents feel that it is possible to well-balance study and sport. Secondly, to help the graduates of the general education system to continue their studies in the higher education or the vocational education and training (VET) system. And thirdly, to help athletes to enter the job market.

Stay in!

The first challenge we can identify in Hungarian sport, like everywhere in Europe, is to guide the parents and the young athletes (aged 12-16) before or when they raise the question: “study or sport?” But before listing the preventive or reflective measures that clubs, coaches, schools take, it is important to bring in a less objective parameter, namely the fact that “ordinary” school’s directors and teachers have a generally positive approach towards those students who require more flexibility in their schedules and assessment/examination. Based on international practices, over 60 special sports schools have been established since 1963, where the well-known combination of studying and sport is realised by applying a special timetable to serve the daily 2-3 times sports practice and yet, still have all the subjects taught in contact lessons. That seems to be a methodological challenge to supplement regular classes by e-learning/on-line education in the elementary and secondary level – so far.

Transfer One

With such a deep-rooted strong relationship between education and sport, the topic of dual career couldn’t have been ignored. In dual career there are two transfers: the first is when the athlete leaves compulsory education, therefore is highly recommended to continue education in either on a vocational or a higher education level. The second transfer happens when the athlete finishes his/her sporting career and needs to find his/her place in civil professional life. Both transfers are challenging as for the first one, the athlete has to be motivated and encouraged to go on with studies even when it is not compulsory anymore. For the second transfer to happen smoothly, he/she needs to plan ahead, as in sport, retirement can happen from one day to another due to injuries or the termination of a sporting contract. Hungary has been having systems for both transfers, which makes it easier for athletes to prepare for civil life.

To make the first transfer easier, the Hungarian Olympic Committee (HOC) built up a system in which elite athletes can conduct both their athletic career and their non-sporting professional career. The “Olympic Pathway Programme” has been launched in May, 2002. The programme is based on an agreement – signed by higher education institutions and the HOC – expressing the mutual will to provide special conditions for high- level athletes in getting into and conducting studies on tertiary level in Hungary. The reception of the initiative from the side of education institutions was highly positive as all invited colleges and universities signed the agreement with the HOC, which means that currently 30 higher education institutions take part in the programme.

In 2013 and 2014 a nation-wide project was conducted to prepare the quasi Hungarian White Paper on Sport. This has been the latest example of the evidence-based policy-making on a national level in order to revise the 2007 Hungarian Sports Strategy. Among many topics, dual career has been researched. The project team collected and analysed data used in the implementation process of the EU document on dual career. The EU Guidelines on Dual Careers of Athletes Recommended Policy Actions in Support of Dual Careers in High-Performance Sport was issued in Brussels on 16th November, 2012.

The 36 European guidelines has been taken one by one, got analysed based on compliance or non-compliance with the existing Hungarian practice, the mapped state-of-play and/or legal regulations. In case of non-compliance with an EU guideline, recommendations have been made addressing relevant stakeholders. All key issues and levels of the areas of sport, education, health and employment have been addressed, meaning that in case of a design or launch of a dual career action plan, any sports organisation can refer to the Project outcome by following the Hungarian Guidelines on Dual Career – Recommended Policy Actions47. Since the target group is the Hungarian sports and education sector, the language of the publication is Hungarian.