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The number of international students studying in Hungarian higher education institutions has increased by more than two-thirds since 2013 thanks to the government’s strategy aimed at strengthening the international role and relations of Hungarian universities, an official of the innovation and technology ministry said on Wednesday.

The number of international students enrolled at Hungarian universities climbed over 38,000 in the 2019/2020 academic year, close to the 40,000 target for 2023 set by Innovation and Technology Minister László Palkovics in 2014, the ministry cited state secretary Tamás Schanda as saying.

The government’s aim is for Hungarian universities to have a central role in research, development and innovation and to strengthen their relations with businesses and international institutions, Schanda said.

Though the pandemic has brought the increase in international students studying in Hungary to a halt, the reopening could attract foreign students again, Schanda said.

About half of foreign students believe a degree earned in Hungary will be more valuable than one awarded in their home countries, he added.

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The ministry highlighted the role of the government’s Stipendium Hungaricum programme, which awards scholarships to foreign university students, in attracting students to the country.

featured image: Tamás Schanda; via Tibor Illyés/MTI