Several news outlets reported on Friday that the Hungarian government has banned gender studies programs, citing a lack of jobs for graduates.
In a move that will certainly spark debates over censorship, the Hungarian government moved to ban gender studies programs, primarily from the two major universities in the country that offer gender studies programs. One of the universities is public and the other is private.
According to HVG.hu, the part of the amendment which concerns gender studies provides no explanation whatsoever. Two universities are concerned: Hungary’s biggest state-funded university ELTE, and the Central European University, founded by George Soros. If the amendment becomes official, it will mean that nobody can attend gender studies courses in Hungary and get a degree in the subject. HVG.hu notes that CEU offers both Hungarian and American degrees, the amendment will not affect the latter.
The Hungarian government claims that the decision was made before there are no jobs for gender studies graduates in the local job market. Additionally, they argued that offering such programs puts a strain on university’s finances, especially as graduates of such programs typically aren’t able to donate significant sums back to the university later on in life.
The Ministry of Human Capacities told HVG.hu later today that there is absolutely no interest for gender studies graduates in the Hungarian job market. EMMI added that the course is economically irrational, so they assume that it’s not launched to give the students useful knowledge, but it serves other interests. According to the ministry, the gender studies MA takes away resources from other courses and harms the economic stability of the universities.
Conservatives should be concerned about the precedent this sets considering their limited influence on academia. Not only does the decision risk making gender studies an intellectual forbidden fruit, progressive governments could use this decision as a catalyst to restrict conservative and libertarian thought in classrooms around the globe in the future.
Gender studies may be partisan drivel with no grounding in reality. But it’s better for such programs to be laughed, rather than legislated, out of existence.
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