About our School
There seems to be a parallel between the academic characters of Karinthy Frigyes Gimnázium and its namesake. Karinthy Frigyes, a famous Hungarian author, had the rare quality of being simultaneously light-hearted and serious. We strive to maintain the same quality, uniting rigorous academic standards with close, friendly staff-student relationship and a casual climate. We offer an array of extracurricular activities to challenge and broaden our students between their 9th and 13th grades before they can take their secondary school leaving examination. We work to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, lifelong learners and caring young people with intercultural understanding and respect.
It is a state school, built in 1986 to the highest specifications. The Gimnazium has been designed to create an academic and purposeful atmosphere for everybody who works there. Sloping roofs combined with huge plate glass windows flood the interior of the building with natural light. There is a sense of space and freedom everywhere.
Within its walls the school contains all you would expect from a modern educational establishment:
- the latest technical equipment,
- well-staffed libraries,
- fully equipped classrooms,
- excellent recreational and sport facilities.
The school is in a green-belt area and is surrounded by beautifully maintained parks.
We offer great extracurricular opportunities for our students including:
- foreign exchanges throughout Europe and the US,
- music, art and dance,
- academic competitions,
- multi-cultural observances and celebrations.
We maintain a 13:1 student:teacher ratio. We have had native speakers as staff members from Britain, the U.S., Canada and Australia in the Hungarian-English bilingual section. Nine Hungarians have had participated in the American Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program, and several others have also studied and worked abroad. Perhaps what distinguishes our staff members most is their concern for students outside the classroom. Our teachers begin instilling a sense of school pride and tradition in our students before school starts at the three-day "chicken camp", an orientation for new students. This interaction outside the classroom continues throughout their education at Karinthy Frigyes Gimnazium. In the evenings and at the week-ends students and teachers often share the sights and cultural experiences that Budapest and the countryside can offer.
Teaching began in Karinthy Frigyes Gimnazium in 1987. with seventy-two students who were among the first in Hungary studying in the newly launched national bilingual programme. Then as now, these students were selected from several hundred other applicants on the basis of their success in an objective entrance examination designed to measure their abilities. Inevitably, this exam has ensured that the school always receives students of great potential for academic growth, who are also capable of meeting the challenges of bilingual education and benefiting from its great advantages.
A knowledge of the English language, however, is by no means a prerequisite for successful entrance to the bilingual programme. In fact only a small proportion of our students arrive at the school with experience of some English instruction in their primary years. Hence, during their first or 9th grade - known as the "zero year" - all students are required to take part in a highly intensive language course consisting of twenty English lessons a week. At the end of this first essential stage of their education, a very sound knowledge of the English language should be acquired.
In their remaining four years at the school students must study all the core subjects on the Hungarian national curriculum: mathematics, history, geography, physics and biology, etc. Not only are the students expected to study all these subjects within the medium of the English language but are equally encouraged to excel in the sphere of each separate academic discipline.
We offer Spanish, German, French or Russian as second foreign languages.
The aims of Karinthy's bilingual project are obviously ambitious and have demanded a high degree of commitment from both the students and the teaching staff involved. However, we think we can be satisfied with the results of our combined efforts. On average almost 100 % of our final year bilingual students are accepted by institutions of higher education; a figure which compares very favourably with the success-rate obtained by even the best schools in the country. Indeed, many of the most prestigious universities have offered places, even scholarships to our graduates both in Hungary and abroad.
Other objective tests clearly proved our achievements as a bilingual high school such as the International G.C.S.E. (General Certificate of Secondary Education - Great Britain) in first language English, an examination administered by the University of Cambridge and designed principally for native-language speakers. Our students' results were a startling 20% higher than those obtained in Britain. Many have also achieved very high standards in other internationally recognized examinations like those who chose to enter for the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English or the American Test of English as a Foreign Language which is specified as the requirement even for entrance to major American universities such as Harvard and Yale.
In many respects Karinthy Frigyes Gimnazium is still in the early stages of its development and yet it has already rated some considerable accomplishments. Our reputation as an academic institution has been confirmed by the Hungarian government and the United Nation's World Bank, who have selected us for sponsorship to begin the International Baccalaureate, a globally accepted university entrance examination. The evident confidence placed in our school by both institutions is a clear measure of the success of the bilingual project and the increasing recognition of the school as a centre for academic excellence. The average grades of the IB students at Karinthy have always been amongst the highest in the world