The Kőrösi Csoma Sándor School was established in 1909-10 in the great school building epoch of Hungary. It began as a primary school called Szentendrei Way School. From 1948 to 1958 it was a K-8 school. In September 1958, the school began offering a secondary school program and by 1962 it grew into a K-12 school. On November 8, 1958 at a school ceremony the school took the name The Kőrösi Csoma Sándor Primary and High School. Kőrösi continued as a K-12 school until 1974. At that time the primary education program ceased, and only the high school remained in the building.
In September 1974, Kőrösi was the first school in the country, which in the context of an international project started a bilingual high school Hungarian-Russian education. The goal of the project was to allow students graduating with a high level of language proficiency to continue their higher education studies abroad in the countries of their target languages.
In the bilingual program students studied the target language for a year before entering the traditional four-year-long high school program. This extra year prepared them for continuing their studies in a foreign language; in their first semester they began studying a number of subjects in the target language. The uniqueness of this type of program was that at the end of their studies they took a bilingual baccalaureate exam in the Hungarian baccalaureate system, which meant that they took some of their exams in the target language.
From 1974 to 1987 the Kőrösi Csoma Sándor High School was the only bilingual school in Hungary. Having seen the successes of the project and the outstanding results in the field of language education, the then educational administration passed a law amendment in 1985, which made it possible for Hungarian high schools to start further bilingual schools in various foreign languages in the phasing-out system. When, in 1987, high schools launched bilingual programs, they developed their curricula based on Kőrösi’s thirteen-year-long professional and methodological experiences.
Until 2000 the local government had maintained our school; in the subsequent thirteen years a foundation maintained it. On September 1, 2013 the Hungarian Baptist Aid (Baptista Szeretetszolgálat), having religious legal personality, took over its maintenance.
In 2001 our school expanded its program offerings by adding English; in 2003 it added German, and in 2014 Chinese, so that as of today we are the only school in the country where bilingual education is conducted in four target languages.
As of today, bilingual education is one of the most sought-after programs in the country. In addition to the popular bilingual educational form what makes our school attractive is our far-reaching international social network, which makes it possible for Kőrösi students to participate in foreign study and exchange programs. Furthermore, an important and attractive value is the school’s Christian spirit, which determines its workings as a religious institution.
We believe it is of the utmost importance that in addition to passing on the Christian cultural and intellectual traditions we create as many opportunities as possible for the involvement of students in and through various programs. We are convinced that motivation for the 14-19 age group is not rooted primarily in the love of subjects, but in the power of the collective and the sense of belonging to a good community. If the collective is good and important, students will enjoy school and will be motivated to learn.
Our school has always been characterized by a familial, individual-oriented feeling because the school, thanks to its special educational aspect, has never belonged among mammoth institutions. The school’s maximum capacity is 450 students. Currently 350 students are in enrolled in our school. However, in the 2015/16 school year we plan on admitting 450 students.
From Kőrösi’s institutional history spring good student-teacher relationships, which are among the most important elements motivating students. At the time of the commencement of the school’s bilingual programs students hadn’t known what they had gotten themselves into, while teachers hadn’t known what kinds of methods were needed in order to make this entirely new type of program to work efficiently. An experimental, free-minded, open atmosphere, a mutually supportive relationship between teachers and students came to characterize the school and became at the same time an organic, decisive part of its institutional culture.
In the course of our pedagogical work we try to put emphasis on enriching our courses with practical elements, thereby making the curriculum more colorful, approachable and life-like. Our goal is to endow our students with practical knowledge and skill, which help them with stepping out into adult life and the real world.
We believe the presence of foreign students and teachers is very important. This presence is also an organic part and tradition of the school’s organizational culture. Foreign students promote such basic values as tolerance, acceptance, openness and multiculturalism. Furthermore, thanks to the foreign language environment they create, these students accelerate the development of the language skills of their peers.
The school is also attractive to foreign students. We are the only school in the country with a special Hungarian school in which foreign students or heritage speakers can learn Hungarian as a foreign language with or without the aid of an interlanguage, e.g., English, Russian, German. At the end of the one-and-a-half-year-long Hungarian as a Second Language program those students who wish to continue their studies in Hungary can be easily integrated into the Hungarian educational system.
Our school is a dynamically growing institution, and because of its above outlined singularity it is highly sought after. This year seven times as many students applied for admission than the number we were able to admit to the school. According to admissions statistics, we are among the most popular institutions in the country.
Beyond a Christian value system, a familial student-oriented culture, multiculturalism, rich and practice-oriented courses, one of the greatest assets of our school is that in the past forty years it has been able to preserve its autonomy as regards its professional and economic functioning. One of the biggest problems of Hungarian institutions in the realm of state education is that they’re under the direction of state governance; the Hungarian Institution Maintenance Center makes decisions at the federal level both in economic and personnel questions. Even though Kőrösi also works from a state norm, its leadership can decide independently regarding financial, professional and personnel matters. In this way, all conditions are ensured for the running of a well organized and professionally well functioning school.