The Structure and Operation of the Career Tracking System
Career tracking in Hungary today is implemented at both institutional and national level. The objective is the establishment of a register based on the career tracking data of higher education institutions and central data collection in which the data of the institutions and the results of nationwide research are processed.
The two cornerstones of graduate career tracking are institutional surveys and central research. The following article discusses the relationship between these two pillars.
Since the law stipulates that the institutions concerned must track the career of graduates, a system of some sort is already working in most places. The greatest deficiency in these is usually that the data obtained is often useless. Conclusions cannot be drawn retrospectively across years because the data from previous years is missing; or the surveys are simply conducted on the basis of different aspects, thus the data can not be summarised. A nationwide program (TÁMOP 4.1.1) was initiated to promote career tracking systems, aiming to further develop the already existing systems and establish new ones where such surveys are not conducted yet.
The Central Programme
The objectives of the central programme are to make the institutional level surveys and the information obtained through them collectible in one central database from which reports, graphs and analyses can be requested later.
For example, where are communication major students most satisfied with their study programme in the country? To answer this question data from all universities and colleges where a major in communication is available must be collected in the same location. This is like a huge pot into which every institution can throw their packages of information. These are mixed together so that anyone can take out the parts that they need.
Information related to domestic career tracking and employment on the international labour market will be available in the forms of informative data stores and databases in order to provide all players in higher education with the opportunity of utilising it.
The central career tracking programme (TÁMOP 4.1.3.) also provides an opportunity to develop the required information technology systems in addition to methodology. The final objective is to develop a useful model for every university and college that can be used by all state institutions from 2010.
The data from the system mentioned above may not only be useful for future/present students, but those participating in the labour market can also obtain a clearer picture of the knowledge and competencies that may be expected from a young graduate from a given major. The value of a degree is determined to a great extent by the demand for it on the labour market, thus the study programmes offered by institutions must be adapted to the demands of the labour market, which requires cooperation.