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There is a general consensus in mainstream education sciences and sociology that the Hungarian educational system has long been highly selective. Although the majority of Hungarian society has high hopes that the educational system promotes social mobility, empirical studies show that the problem of selectivity has not been handled effectively, regardless of the multitude of changes in education policy in past decades. It has become a very fashionable theme in the past few years to denounce the detrimental effects of neoliberalism on the educational system for this failing. We, however, argue that neoliberalism has only played a secondary role in the controversial evolution of educational policy, while its chief causes may rather be found in ambiguous education legislation.

As a result of the aforementioned controversy, the impact of neoliberal economic policy on the institutional selectivity of education needs to be clarified. Accordingly, this paper aims to highlight the main patterns of how the neoliberal idea has affected education, as well as its side effects on social mobility.

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