Forrai Methodist Secondary Grammar and Vocational School Specializing in Art
’Modern training – high standard of human values – secure, prestigious jobs’
The Early History of Forrai School (1939-1952)
Rege Forrai, honorary principal (and previously principal of the school for 21 years) recalls the establishment of the school in 1939 and its reopening in 1991:
In 1939 a young couple, my parents, decided to establish their own school. At that time private schools were not uncommon. Although the Second World War had just started, its effects had not yet been felt in Hungary. There was industrial development and economic growth, young people were eager to study, and office jobs were prestigious and in high demand. The original school building was not far from its present site.
My parents named the school Forrai Private School. Students were trained in groups and it was a full- time day school. Employers expected advanced office skills, so my parents paid particular attention to the teaching of neat handwriting, impeccable spelling and letter-writing skills, as well as shorthand and the competent use of office equipment. The young women graduating from the school were highly sought after in the job market.
It is interesting to note that at that time secreterial work was not restricted to women. Trainee clerks from the Police and the Army also studied at Forrai School. Apart when Budapest was under siege, the school operated without interruption until 1952, when, like so many other private institutions, it was nationalized, i.e. taken over by the state. However, my parents were determined and persevering. They were forced to hand over their school, but they were not willing to give up their vocation: they continued to work as teachers until their retirement.
It was from them that I learned the importance of hard work. I also learnt that teaching is a highly rewarding profession, so it was not difficult for me to choose a career, as it was clear to me that I should follow in my parents’ footsteps. My husband and I spent several years working abroad. When we returned, armed with our experience and our savings, we were full of hope.
Experiencing the liberating spirit of the years of political transition, we became increasingly optimistic that Forrai Private School represented not only our past but possibly our future as well.
The Ministry of Education and Culture supported our initiative and finally in 1991, after a long and intensive preparatory period, the school was reopened.
The History of our School (1991-2013)
Over the course of time office work has changed considerably, becoming more specialized, and now involving three main fields: informatics, business studies and office management, the latter requiring a good command of foreign languages. In 1991, when the school was reopened with two-year post-secondary training courses, we focused on these areas.
In 1998, when it became possible for schools to run tertiary training programmes, we immediately seized the opportunity. Our school became affiliated to various well-known Hungarian universities and colleges, where our graduates had the opportunity to continue their studies with credit transfers. The tertiary training courses constituted our main educational activity until 2013, when all such programmes were discontinued by the education authorities. We are very proud of this period. Our graduates left the school with excellent academic results, and we were able to establish ties with local and multinational companies who offered our graduates excellent employment opportunities.
It is worth mentioning that during the period between 1994 and 2007 the teachers of the school, under the guidance of Rege Forrai, developed the complete curricula and requirement systems of five accredited vocational training programmes and wrote fourteen textbooks, of which ten are still in use.
Since 2005 we have extended our programmes to include art courses and we have launched our secondary school programme.
The school moved into its new four-storey building in 1995. There are 20 classrooms, including four computer labs, a science classroom, several smaller classrooms for language teaching and art rooms (for drawing, music and sewing, as well as a decoration workshop). All classrooms are equipped with modern technological equipment and in several classrooms teachers can also use interactive white boards.
Behind the school building there is an attractive walled-in garden, where students can chat, relax and play basketball or badminton in the breaks in a very pleasant environment.
Several thousand students have graduated from our vocational training programmes. Most have been able to find employment at joint-venture companies and, we have received very favourable feedback from their employers. 80-85% of our secondary school graduates continue their studies at tertiary educational institutions in Hungary or abroad.
Our staff consists of highly-qualified, experienced and dedicated teachers, many of whom are also authors of successful textbooks. Our students have won numerous prizes at National Vocational Student Competitions. We organize competitions for our secondary school students in various fields, e.g. poetry recital, history, mathematics, and English.
As indicated above, apart from innovation, quality is also an important building block of our educational policy. The Association of Independent Schools awarded Forrai School the title ‘Approved School’in 1995, and in 2004 and 2009 this approval was renewed. In 1997 The European Foundation for Quality Management awarded the school the title ‘Training Institution Applying the Self- Assessment Criteria of the European Quality Management Programme’.
Future Aims and Tasks
The year 2013, when The United Methodist Church in Hungary took over the school, marked an important milestone in the history of Forrai School. The Christian values represented by the Church contribute to school life in three different areas:
- developing social and interpersonal skills to meet the challenges of our time
- teaching moral virtues and life skills based on traditional Christian values
- teaching skills that enable students to become independent, internally directed and motivated learners.
These skills, along with the key competences and content knowledge acquired through study, combine traditional values with the new demands of the 21st century.
A significant change occurred in the history of the school when Zsófia Pásztor introduced her pastoral work with the secondary school students. She conducts the weekly service as well as Bible and religious studies lessons and pastoral care lessons. She helps organize the community service work mandatory for secondary school students and contributes to infusing the everyday life of the school with Christian values, in addition to which she also organizes joint church-school programmes. Prior to the beginning of the academic year she organizes Quiet Days for the staff to discuss future plans, programmes and initiatives. General infomation about the school
- there are 481 students in the school (day and evening classes)
- we run four-year secondary school programmes and two- year post-secondary vocational training courses specializing in arts
- the teaching of foreign lanuages is a significant element of our eduactional programme.
Our educational profile includes the following:
- a bilingual (English-Hungarian) grammar school programme
- a grammar school programme with English specialization
- a grammar school programme specializing in art
- a vocational secondary school programme specializing in art
- post-secondary two-year accredited training courses in decorative arts and design, graphic and fashion design
- post-secondary two-year accredited training courses in business information systems.
Our school has always been characterized by its striving for modernity. Our development goals comprise several different areas, of which the teaching of languages is of utmost importance. As part of our foreign language enhancement programme forty students have participated in the arts and crafts summer camp conducted by native speaker teachers. We were able to organize the camp with the support of two Methodist congregations in Texas.
The dedicated members of these congregations helped our students develop a better understanding of not only the English language but also of the world, the Church and human values.
It is our plan to continue the summer camp tradition at Forrai School in the summer of 2015.
The Church would like to support the school in achieving its goals. Hence, the idea arose that besides participating in the summer camps, our secondary school students would greatly benefit from studying in a foreign language environment, or those participating in the two year vocational programmes would gain considerably by pursuing their practice training in a foreign country. We are already formulating these goals and we hope that, before long, our students will be able to travel abroad in order to improve their foreign language skills, widen their horizons and learn about the customs and values of the host countries.
Budapest, 30 November 2014.
Szabadosné dr. Vargha Magdolna S. Forrai Rege
Principal Honorary Principal