Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Hungary Bans Gender-studies Programs

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Officials in Hungary have determined that gender-studies programs are a waste of time and money, and have removed the programs from universities in a move sure to provoke ire from the Left.

Gender-studies programs typically challenge the traditional roles of males and females in society and have been criticised for failing to acknowledge any scientific evidence that undermines their ideology and for advancing claims that are wholly unscientific and controversial for the sake of intersectional politics.

Officials in Hungary decided to take a stand last week against these programs, citing concerns that there will be a lack of jobs for students who graduate from them. 

Hungarian political magazine Heti Világgazdaság reported that Hungary's secretary of the Ministry of Human Resources (EMMI) Bence Rétvári stated that the gender-studies programs are based in “ideology rather than science,” and therefore had no place in facilities of higher education. He even went so far as to compare the programs to “Marxist-Leninism,” adding that the programs’ absence of science makes them “inappropriate matter for university-level education.”

A spokesman for the government told Breitbart that the degrees proved useless to students after their graduation.

“There is no economic rationale for studies such as these,” he said, as the degree does not “furnish students with skills that can be readily and directly converted on the labour market.” He added that the programs aren’t sustainable and “take away valuable resources from other programs, deteriorating the economic stability of universities.”

He pointed out that state universities have an obligation to ensure that funding is allocated for vital programs.

“State universities operated from public funds must take these factors into consideration,” he said, “since the purpose of these institutions of higher education is to meet genuine social and labour market needs.”

Chief of Staff Gergely Gulyas asserts that the government should not be financing programs that shirk science for ideology.

“The Hungarian government is of the clear view that people are born either men or women. They lead their lives the way they think best, but beyond this, the Hungarian state does not wish to spend public funds on education in this area,” he said.

As noted by Breitbart, the gender-studies programs have been under the watchful eye of officials in Hungary for some time. In 2017, Lőrinc Nacsa, the leader of the Christian Democrat (KDNP) youth wing, said that gender studies at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest (ELTE) — one of only two universities in the country that offer the program — are wasteful and detrimental to traditional values.

“We must raise awareness to the fact that these programs are doing nothing to lift up our nation. In fact, they are destroying the values-centered mode of thinking that is still present in the countries of Central Europe,” Nacsa wrote in a letter to the president of ELTE.

And while the move is not likely to have a significant impact on students in Hungary, where the Daily Wire reports that just two universities even offer the program at the graduate level, and programs in both universities showed minimal enrollment, it could have the potential to set a dangerous precedent for governmental influence in academia. After all, Breitbart notes that while one of the Hungarian universities affected by the decision is state-funded, the other — Central European University, founded by George Soros — is private.

Officials in Poland, Germany, and Russia have already voiced opposition to gender studies and advocated using government resources to put an end to them. Last year, Polish minister of science and higher education Jaroslaw Gowin suggested that gender-studies journals should be stripped of their official status, according to Times Higher Education, but later backtracked to say instead that money from European Union sources should not be allocated to “pseudoscien[tific]” gender studies journals and research.

Germany’s Alternative for Germany party argues that gender studies should not be treated as a serious academic discipline and in fact pose a threat to natural science. The party’s manifesto states it would end state support for professorships and research in the field.

A Russian parliamentarian has threatened to revoke the license of the European University at St. Petersburg over its gender studies program, which he has dubbed “fake studies.”

As observed by Breitbart, while many critics recognize gender studies as “partisan drivel with no grounding in reality,” it is important to avoid the temptation to allow the government to intervene and eliminate programs offered at private universities.

Image: majorosl via iStock / Getty Images Plus

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