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Tempus Foundation to launch HUF 10 billion international relations scheme for ‘reform’ universities

The board of Tempus Public Foundation on Thursday adopted the principles and concept of a new 10 billion forint (EUR 26.2m) international relations programme drawn up jointly with the Ministry of Culture and Innovation, Pannon University, the University of Debrecen, Szechenyi Istvan University, Obuda University and Semmelweis University, Balazs Hanko, the state secretary for higher education, said.

Hanko, who had arrived to Brussels to attend a meeting of EU education ministers, said the scheme will offer opportunities for around 8,000 students, educators and researchers to participate in exchange programmes. It will initially cover institutions that have undergone a government-funded reform and are run by foundations, he added. Tempus will first call applications from universities on January 15 so students can submit their applications in March and participate in exchange programmes – including exchanges with non-European universities – from autumn next year, Hanko said.

He expressed hope that the new programme will help achieve the government’s goals that at least one Hungarian university will be among the top 100 universities in the world, three Hungarian universities will be ranked among the top 100 European universities, and the number of students participating in international exchange programmes will double by 2030.

On the matter of the suspension of Erasmus scholarship funding for Hungary, Hanko said the government had sent its latest proposal to the European Commission close to two weeks ago, but as usual, the answer did not arrive on time.

“The Commission should know that in the Erasmus system, Hungarian universities had until February 23 to apply, and nine months are available to conclude the funding contracts, the deadline for which is today, but of course the Commission can decide to postpone this. We are negotiating, we trust that the Commission will accept the proposals we made in response to their comments, in order to ensure adequate protection of European Union resources, and that they will not follow their earlier tactic of always introducing new criteria, which has only served to delay the process so far,” he said.

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