Hungarian-language medical training withering away

The systematic endeavor that is most probably meant to totally wind-up the Hungarian department of the University of Medicine, Pharmacy, Science and Technology of Marosvásárhely (Târgu-Mureş) now continues with the significant reduction of the admission quota allocated for Hungarian speaking students who apply. As the Székelyhon news portal reports, the maximum number of Hungarian students who can be admitted in the university entrance exam was reduced from the prior 200 to 120. On the other hand, the “agency in charge of the quality of the higher education” increased the schooling numbers for the Romanian department from the former 270 to 300 – Székelyhon reports.

The Hungarian deputy rector of the university, Előd Nagy told the news portal that bilateral negotiations seem to lead nowhere, and the members of the Hungarian department will probably have to reflect on if it still makes any sense to continue this way. The elected leader of the department, professor Béla Szabó also stated that the decision of the above-mentioned agency is a huge setback, and it might endanger teaching posts and two educational series as well.

Last Friday, Romania’s minister of education Ecaterina Andronescu went to Marosvásárhely to discuss with the leaders of both the Romanian and the Hungarian department about the situation of the latter. After the meeting the minister said that the law of education and the constitution stipulates university autonomy, and the jurisdiction of the ministry is limited concerning decisions about the structure of the university. The minister can only be a moderator between parties – she stated. Andronescu had also mentioned that during the talks on Friday another topic came up: she said that professors teaching the same subjects in Romanian respectively in Hungarian should work together in elaborating the exam questions of that subject.

As it is widely known, the governing board of the university has been forestalling for years the formation of the autonomous Hungarian faculty. Besides, the senate of the university has decided last year, that students of each department will be tested according to the Romanian-language examination system; Hungarian students were informed of this only a few weeks before the exam period. Not to mention that the university was renamed without the knowledge of the Hungarian professors: the rector, Leonard Azamfirei just announced last fall at a conference, that the institution has adopted the name of a Romanian doctor and scientist, George Emil Palade.

The Medical and Pharmaceutical University of Marosvásárhely has been actually a faculty of the Bolyai University of Kolozsvár, a Hungarian-language institution of higher education, affirmed by the royal decree of king Michael of Romania in 1945. The Hungarian medical school was moved to Marosvásárhely in 1958 as a separate institution, as the decree was not upheld, and the labs and clinics in Kolozsvár were not really available for the Hungarian faculty’s usage.

In 1962 the communist party has ordered the introduction of the Romanian-language teaching at the university of Marosvásárhely, and the Hungarian department has been confined more and more. At the present moment the decision making board of the institution functions with a two-third majority of Romanian teachers. On the other hand, in 2014 Hungarian professors had bodily resigned their university functions, and walked out of the senate as a sign of protest against the inner measures afflicting the Hungarian-language students and teachers as well…


Title image: Horizons darken more and more: the future of the Hungarian-language medical teaching is endangered


Author: Éva Zay