On the 7th of September Dr Péter Sótonyi rector of the University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest opened the 234th academic year. The audience was greeted in the park of the university by Dr László Kövér, Speaker of Hungary’s National Assembly and Dr József Bódis, State Secretary responsible for knowledge and innovation management, Ministry for Innovation and Technology. At the ceremony, first-year students took their oath and jubilee degrees were awarded to colleagues graduated decades ago.
In his speech, the rector of the university greeted the first-year students, who achieved by far the highest enrollment score among medical universities. “We are also proud,” he stressed, “that despite the epidemic situation when the number of students in Hungarian higher education decreased by 25-30 percent, the University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest increased its applicants by 10 percent compared to the previous year.
„We are pleased – continued Dr Péter Sótonyi rector – that based on the decision of the Hungarian National Assembly, the University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest is one of the universities that changed it’s operating model. The opportunity for change was created by the fact that we regained our independence on 1st of July 2016, and from 1st of August 2020, the university is operated by the Marek József Foundation, instead of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology. The assets of the Foundation are provided by the Hungarian state, while the currently used infrastructure became the property of the university. Our educational structure remains unchanged, and the university offers the same number of state-funded places for Hungarian students as before. At the same time, within the framework of foundations, we can make better use of our market-based foreign language training opportunities. Model change can lead to unique development, which in addition to collaboration with research institutes and veterinary drug and vaccine manufacturers is supported by the participation in basic and food safety research and exceptionally high rate of international education that provides excellent background.
Hungarian universities should not only be successful participants in international higher education and science but also the strengthening basic institutions of Hungarian cultural sovereignty stressed in his speech dr. László Kövér. The Speaker of the National Assembly said that the model change currently taking place in higher education also serves this purpose. While continuing to guarantee the financial stability of the universities, the state transfers rights to trusts, increase the autonomy, capacity and responsibility of universities to adapt even more quickly to the changing economic and social environment. However, the increasing independence doesn’t mean increasing separation from the Hungarian reality, national and social expectations as university autonomy serves to strengthen Hungarian cultural sovereignty. Speaking about the coronavirus epidemic, he stated that Hungary has passed the test well comparing to other countries, so thanks to the precautionary measures today the University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest can start the academic year safely.
“The change in the operating model of the university promises to be a success story,” highlighted dr. László Kövér.
– Not only because the professors and the board members of the foundation are dedicated, to whom we thank again for their responsible work, and not only because the state will provide 66 billion forints of development funding to the university in the next 3 years, but also because this institution has been faithful in the past, so it will not be difficult to adapt to the changes in the future.
In his greeting, Secretary of State József Bódis stated that the change of the operating model means the completion of university autonomy, the promise of development and its realization.
At the opening ceremony, granite, ruby, iron, gold diplomas, habilitation certificates, certificate of honours, medals and awards were taken over, followed by first-year students taking the oath.
Watch the opening ceremony: