THE SOCIAL-REGIONAL DIVERSITY OF STARTING KINDERGARTEN AND ITS LEGAL BACKGROUND (Az ovodakezdes tarsadalmi-teruleti kulonbozosegei es azok jogi hattere)
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jIn this study the authoress reveals the considerable and different regional proportions of 'deficit' of the pupils less than five years of age in the kindergartens, and examines the problem of the opportunity of early starting nursery school along some dimensions merging into each other. The object of the calculations is to call attention to the pressure of certain legal circumstances which cause indirectly the breach of equal opportunities already at the first step in the public education system. From the regional point of view it is shown that the nursery possibilities of children living in the Northern, North-Eastern parts and in the rural areas of Hungary are at a significant disadvantage; this is not a surprising, but is a saddening fact. Also the children in towns where their number is continually increasing and in some Budapest districts are in a similar situation (only with respect to the prospects of registration and the start of kindergarten). The dimension of 'parent being at home' is also analysed, divided into three parts: inactive parents (mothers) who are at home with younger sons/daughters or as unemployed and as 'full-time mothers' (this is the Hungarian word in common parlance for those who get subsidies from the state for it). All the three types of parents can meet with the discriminative argumentation of 'mother is at home anyway' (suggested by the Acts on Public Education and on the Protection of Children) during nursery registration. The authoress presents that the problem is not solved unambiguously by law. The two different interpretations of the role of kindergarten (that is, regarded as a 'babysitting' or a socialising-developing institute) throw light on the fact that the municipal district kindergartens (which are part of the public education system, so they must consequently be in the second category of institutions) theoretically could not distinguish between children in the registration process. But in practice the situation is absolutely different in many cases. At the end of the essay, the authoress delineates possible starting-points which can lead to a satisfying compromise. But there is a very long way to go in any case.
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