I want to ask something about the partnerships involved in regional development
- who are in a partnership?
At the region’s level there are partnerships between local governments,
the regional development agencies, the representatives of employers and
employees, and the civil society. Civil society and social dialogue are
new resources in Hungary, they are under development, and it seems that
they have a very important task. In the future they can deal with new,
but very important topics, which may not be in the main focus of interest,
for example the harmonisation of sectoral and regional planning aspects.
Are there also partnerships between companies - for instance to share ideas
about the professional development of their employees, to work with one
another on the same topics?
There are HR clubs, where HRD people of companies can discuss common problems
and share ideas, but this kind of partnership differs a lot from the other
- I mean partnership related to regional development - where the key actors
try to represent and strengthen there interests. There are institutions
which can organise company training on their own. These companies have
financial resources and human resources to manage it from the company side.
Others who have no money or no interest to do that try to employ well educated
and trained people from outside. But it's important that those who have
money can manage it, and the others are waiting for ‘good luck’, try to
hire qualified people.
Lack of money could be a reason to build a partnership...
You are probably right, but I think that it is not money but mentality,
this is most important. Because, maybe you have money, but you follow the
old structures and can't open yourself for learning. So, lack of money
is important, but lack of mentality is more important.
I was thinking about whose responsibility this regional development is.
It's quite a lot and it's going to be something different. When you say
that the government is responsible for things to happen like that, then
there is a chance that it remains the same political situation, that it
looks similar as before 1989. Or is it a responsibility of the people?
Is it a top-down approach or a bottom-up approach? Who has the responsibility
Since the country joined the EU the regions have got much stronger
responsibility for their own future. Hungary can expect a lot of support
from the EU funds because of the level of development. But there is a long
conciliation process between Hungary and the EU, for example how many regional
operative programmes we can present to the EU. It is a learning process
also, to give the power and the money to the regions - the state cannot
control the power and the money as it happened before any longer. Maybe
this is why the government is a bit cautious and the EU is cautious too
- who wants a big fiasco?
But at the same time it is important to focus on the sub-regional level,
because regions are not able to set out and develop their own planning
if they are only sitting at the desk. They have to go further and contact
the sub-regions and utilise every kind of source they have. The problem
is that especially the less developed sub-regions won't have any resource
to become more developed on their own.
You said that you have found out from your research that there was no participation
in lifelong learning. How do you define lifelong learning in the Hungarian
context? Different countries and different regions of the world look at
this term in a different way. What do we mean by it? How do we measure
Well, I said that there was not too strong emphasis on lifelong learning
in the regional development plans and tried to explain that according to
different surveys the country demonstrates a low participation rate of
adults in lifelong learning. There was a CVTS2 survey by EUROSTAT four
years back; they stated that Hungary is below average. They studied the
non-formal and also formal education and training provided by companies
for their employees.
I think what they call lifelong learning is the informal, the non-formal
part. According to my understanding, and if you look at the literature,
lifelong learning is a larger term, an umbrella term which comprises many
Yes, I agree with you, but if you check the recent past in Hungary, there
are very similar findings. According to a survey conducted by the Hungarian
Central Statistical Office in 2003 on participation in lifelong learning,
approximately 20 % of the population aged 15-74 participated in any kind
of educational or training activities within the 12 months prior to the
survey. This is why the government has set up huge programmes recently
to encourage individuals to participate in adult learning.