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Tibor Péter Nagy: The ratios of school leaving exams obtained in regular and in adult education in Hungary through the course of the short twentieth century

The presence of adult education in upper secondary schooling is diverse among different generations. An absolute number is used to indicate how many have passed the school-leaving exam in the same cohorts at the age of 20-24 and 50-54, as shown by census figures. In fact, a significant increase can be observed in the 1950’s and 1960’s, which increase is higher than 25% for the cohorts born after the Trianon treaty and exceeds 35% for the cohort born prior to the Great Depression. Comparing the senior generations, one group stands out qualitatively, namely, the cohort born in the 1920’s, particularly in the late 1920’s. In their life adult education played an important role, especially retrospectively, from the 1980’s. Adult education emerging after 1945 could, on the whole, compensate for the wartime loss of women, but it could not compensate for the greater loss of men. The following decades were strongly affected by adult education. Then, even in spite of higher male mortality rates, the ratio of men having passed school leaving exams by the age of 50-54 was higher than in their younger years, i. e. at the time when they were in their twenties, and it stagnated in their last decades, against further increasing male mortality. This means that the ratio of men acquiring school leaving exam in adult education higher by some percentages then that of women. Thus, the gender ratios in adult education do not reflect actual influences, as does regular primary education. They conserve the proportions developed in the course of the previous decades (according to the social expectations concerning the relations between schooling and gender). Members of this cohort passed a vocational school leaving exam to complement their industrial certificate that they had acquired in regular education in their teenage years. In the case of men, leaving school before they turn 20 (which is the complimentary opposite to participating in adult education) is in inverse proportion to the postindustrial social success of the given profession: tertiary sectors, such as healthcare, accountancy, public education and economy have notably low scores, followed by trade and information technology.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 107. Number 2. 123-139. (2007)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Nagy Péter Tibor, H–1027 Budapest, Margit krt. 64.a II. 3.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia