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Region And Education. Series of the Center for Higher Education Research and Development at University of Debrecen (CHERD-Hungary) – Book Review
Reviewed by Tibor Cserti Csapó
The Center for Higher Education Research and Development (CHERD) at the University of Debrecen is rightly called as Hungary's eastern border fortress on education research. The important mission of CHERD is to conduct research and development of higher education in Debrecen and in the region of the city. Wishing to fulfill this mission over the past several years, great importance has been the center of the analysis. The strength of these research projects is a common regional approach, which is rare among educational studies. This regional approach has been reflected in the network of connections involved in the work,. Thus, the region in which they are not only fashionable to be considered by EU-compliant expression buzzword, but a real structural unit with historical and contemporary relationships and interwoven by fibers of the connections - the former Partium area. This ambition and the recent results provide for public CHERD publication series – the Region and education – that we would like to promote among the readers interested in higher education and to offer for those, who wonder about the regional processes and events.
Region and education is a publication series which exemplifies the role of sociology as it came into existence at the meeting point of public education and society. It’s a quality chosen of the works of researchers and students participating in or cooperating with the Doctoral Program in Educational Studies, University of Debrecen, as well as studies of foreign researchers related to their research. From 2005 until today the number of volumes has expanded to eight in print, but these volumes are also available in downloadable electronic format from the Center's website ( Considering the different branches of knowledge and geographical borders this young science forms a bridge between different sciences and tries to build cooperation among people of different nations.
There were two prior research projects (between 2002 and 2006) called Regional Universities at the University of Debrecen in Hungary. The project is an exemplary proof of the successful regional and interdisciplinary cooperation. The participants included students and researchers arriving from inside and outside of the border, as well as from the fields of educational sciences and outside of them. The root of common mind is that living or researching in a historical background, which, although politically and "geographically" divided in the history, is spiritually and culturally coherent to the present day. This space is the "Partium" where unity can be felt in relation to education.
The first two volumes of the series (edited by Gabriella Pusztai) Region and education – European dimensions (original: Régió és oktatás - Európai dimenziók) and Studies of final conference of "Regional universities” research (Hungarian title is: "Regionális egyetem" kutatás zárókonferenciájának tanulmánykötete) edited by Erika Juhász provide an overview of the research project: “Regional University”.
In the first one Dénes Berényi analyzes the European dimensions of regionalism and education, István Süli-Zakar reveals in a nice overview of regionalism, regionalization processes, Tamás Kozma – the team leader – writes about the observable changing of the system in regional higher education,  Annamária Csordás studies the relationship between Education Policy and the protection of minorities. We can read a study by Ildikó Orosz on the English-language higher education in Transcarpathia, she takes the field of international discourse together with Kinga Mandel, when she investigates the Romanian higher education policy seeking the possibility of a consensus. The book ends with a collection of book reviews, in which the publications from researchers of higher education institutions involved in the research are presented by each other.
While the first volume of the series presented their still ongoing research “regionaluniversities” in theoretical foundations, the second volume is intended to highlight the results of the research projects that have already been closed, collects the conclusions and key findings of the working group. In the first four studies the results of the four working groups of "Regional Universities” research are summarized. The scientific part of the results are also held of the editors by the pattern of these four themes: the first investigates education in the church and minority (mainly education of transborder Hungarians), in the second unit of issue the authors explore the theme of adult education in various aspects, the third bunch of studies pinned together of academic researches, and in the fourth part of the book the team of authors continue to discuss the problems of regionalism. The book, as it is characteristic in basic research too, links these directions and forms an integral new context between a territorial, social geographical, education-sociological, educational policy, and interdisciplinary units.
The third volume of the series – Region and Education – published in English, is titled Education and church in Central and Eastern Europe at a first glance. This publication is a shared effort of the members of a Hungarian research institute (CHERD – Center for Higher Education Research and Development) and other colleagues of the REVACERN research project and it summarizes Eastern European specialist research. The articles were compiled and organized by Gabriella Pusztai around two main topics. In the first part the denominational schools, while in the second part the religious instruction (religious education) are the collective terms to which the research of authors of different nationality are attached. The reader can find interesting approaches about social segregation or status of denominational schools in Romania, Slovakia and in the Ukraine.
The fourth publication of the Region and Education series has the following title: Religion and Values in Education in Central and Eastern Europe. It is a conference volume which contains research papers of the REVACERN research project and it was published in November 2008.
The main issue of the research is to find the right framework and primary hypothesis for describing religion and values in the field of education. Researchers working in this Central and Eastern European project made an attempt to find answers and publish them in this publication. The second task was to examine the role of the church in new challenges in connection with the educational system, like segregation, atomization and the integration of deviant students. For those who are interested in religion and values in education this edition can be useful and thought-provoking as well. School atmosphere, school policies and social capital also belonged to the examined topics. Religious issues in multicultural education are frequently encountered in several writings. The authors of the studies carried out intensive and thorough research, while the reader may face complex approaches related to the original topics as well. The editor grouped the studies of the volume into four subsections. We may read about the appearance of religion and the values in compulsory education, higher education, adult education and in connection with social capital.
The 5th volume of the book series is edited by Erika Juhász titled Tertiary education, adult education and regionalism (Harmadfokú képzés, felnõttképzés és regionalizmus – in Hungarian). This is a summary of the main results of the first year of research TERD (The Impact on Regional Development of Tertiary Education) going on in the period of 2007–2010. The research, led by Tamás Kozma, aims to explore and analyze the impact of tertiary education in regional transformation in the wake of the political changes in Central Europe's defined areas. In this book research results can be found matching to four main aspects of this area: comparative analysis on the effects In tertiary education of some transition region in Central Europe, the statistical comparative study for the transformation of training needs in a selected cross-border region, detection and tracking of the new higher educational aspirations (institutional, local and regional "education policy"), as well as the exploration of the relationship between the economic transition and adult education and differences in comparison. Does higher education contribute to the development in the disadvantaged areas of economic catch-up? Does higher education contribute to the development in a region's identity? The authors are looking for answers to questions like the above mentioned ones in their writings.
In the 6th volume of the series: Region and education (Gabriella Pusztai, ed.) the reader again gets results in English. The Religion and Higher Education in Central and Eastern Europe book – after the opening study of Santiago Sia (Contemporary Society And  Faith-Based Higher  Education: Challenges and Issues) and a writing by Gabriella Pusztai (Place of  religious culture in Central and Eastern European higher education) – organizes their materials to three capital themes: Church-related higher education on the system level, Faith-based higher and adult educational institutions and Religious Students in Higher Education.
The seventh part of this series entitled Region and instruction: The case Partium (In original title: Régió és oktatás: A Partium esete) was written by Tamás Kozma and Tímea Ceglédi. Tamás Kozma’s study opens the first chapter, and as head of the comparator group he summarizes and organizes the experiences of the case studies on minorities in higher education. The working group looked at minority institutions in Central Europe and tried to understand their establishment and life history with a qualitative method and to understand their role in the transformation of the regional area. The studies here flash up some institution's or area's minority educational methods – in Partium and over it.
The second chapter starts with a study by Gabriella Pusztai controlling the institutional research projects. This chapter was designed to summarize educational research projects in Partium. Primary sources are mainly databases that are from the TERD survey of Partium's higher education institution system. In the fall of 2008 the graduating BA / BSc students, in the spring of 2010 the incoming MA / MSc students were asked. The questionnaires aimed for the fullest possible understanding of students, accordingly a wide and colorful scale of analysis was found in the database. These can be found in the chapter, as well as related topics from the results of other studies in the Partium area.
The third chapter containing a bunch of studies can be arranged around a theme of the regional statistical team led by Károly Teperics. The group collected statistical data of three different countries belonging to sub-areas of the economy, demographics and schooling and prepared aggregated thematic analysis based on these themes after digitalizing cartographic visualization. The Partium economic, demographic, labor market and educational characteristics and their correlations are learnable from the essays of the working group and other researchers on Partium.
The fourth chapter is opened by Erika Juhász, who presents the work of the LLL organizational team. The region's adult education system exploration was undertaken by the working group, covering regulatory, financing, institutional system, adult educators and andragogists training, and shows growth in trends of various things in adult education in different countries. In addition, next to the color themes of adult education in this chapter, the issues of the teacher education in the past and present gained place.
The so far last book of the series – but hopefully not for a long time – was edited by Tamás Kozma and Gyöngyvér Pataki. In the book – Minorities in higher education and the Bologna process (A Kisebbségi felsõoktatás és a Bologna-folyamat) – given a blick of the investigations between 2000 and 2010 by the research team which organized on the minorities higher education (mainly Hungarians, secondly other national communities in the region). The study consists of three volumes. The first explores the problem, which is also reflected in the title: what is the fate of minorities in higher education in the Bologna Process. This is an important question not only because the East-Hungarian region is full of ethnic minorities, but mainly because the European Union – and the Bologna process encouraged by the EU - have no saying on national minorities – as the authors claim.
The effects of globalization on national communities (higher) education, this relationship of Europeanization and the clash of new national divisions resulted in system changes with the Europeanization process that marked education by the Bologna process is represented in the second main section of the volume by six case studies. The two studies that were place in the third part are about the research itself, and its methodological foundations. It certainly helps the reader get a peek into the "workshop" and to evaluate for themselves the potential of this new approach – write the authors.