Saturday, 22 April 2017


Disintermediate – follow it yourself

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Hungarian language

You can always use a translation machine to catch the drift. For example:

English language (as and when!)

Nothing there yet, but you never know:

World-famous website?

Nothing yet but there must be eventually:

Friday, 21 April 2017


To 'merge' with Semmelweis Medical University

The PAF (formally the Pető Institute) is to be merged with the Semmelweis Medical University

It remains unexplained why this is being done – and will likely remain so – but the last fix (financial, material, academic, whatever) must not have been working, with the authorities have losing confidence that it would. The announcement confirms the hints and pletyka (rumours) coming from Budapest for some time now.

Available information so far

This from Magyar Nemzet

[In haste because it's getting late!]

The Pető Institute is merging with Semmelweis University

Friday, April 21, 2017, Friday 19:29, updated on Friday 19:34

An agreement has been reached on the integration of Semmelweis University and the Pető András College . Since August, Semmelweis University has been acting as a separate faculty, said Semmelweis University told MTI on Friday.

According to their statement, the Senators discussed the proposal on Thursday and Friday, and according to the resolutions, the bodies 'support the integration of Semmelweis University and the Pető András College by means of a memorandum of intent. As a result, on 1 August the Pető András College will operate under the same name as Semmelweis University, as an independent college. The integration process also affects the conductive pedagogical centre, which includes the kindergarten, the school and the pedagogical institute.

It has been emphasized that in the case of several domestic and international projects, Semmelweis University and the Pető András College have ha long-term scientific and professional relations. The activities of the institutions not only complement each other, but also work organically to provide new, higher levels of teaching, education, research and development in the fields of orthopaedics, neuroscience and paediatrics from infancy to adulthood.

Senators and the Rector and Chancellor of the Pető András College have been authorised to prepare for integration...

The other four newspapers say much the same – though Eduline adds that Ministry approval is still needed  to finalise the deal.

For the moment, tomorrow is another day. Not just the staff, students and clients at PAF will face their own considerable personal distress and uncertainties but people and institutions involved in Conductive Education around the world may have concerns of their own.

Only yesterday Conductive World remarked that perhaps by Summer the direction of PAF's diverse schemes and project might have become a little clearer. Too true, Bruce. What will happen to them now? Indeed, what will happen to a lot of things, and people, and practices...?

And what (many people with no concerns for either disability or Conductive Education will be asking), is to happen to those two very valuable pieces of real estate, in Villányi út and Kútvölgyi út? And what...?

Oh dear!


Mission creep?

Image result for peto institute

It was announced yesterday that as part of the PAF's decentralisation strategy the first Pető Premium Point' is to open in a private health centre situated in Budapest's District XII:
PAF's main building in Villányi út and its new Premium Point in Budakeszi út. both lie in the Budapest's XII. postal district, less that a couple of kilometres' walk away from each other.

The briefest of notes on PAF's website today encourages potential clients to apply there direct:

Within the framework of our decentralisation project, the first Pető Prémium Pont Budapest will be opened in an illustrative environment at the Medicina Health Center next Monday, where qualified conductors await you! Curious? Click for details!

From the Health Centre's website it appears that its services require a fee:
PAF's Decentralisation Project was announced just over a year ago. Its broad points including the following:
  • demand in Hungary is more than the PAF operating centrally can provide for, so decentralisation is to be the cornerstone of a new, unified, multi-project development plan, with conductors operating across the country
  • there would be (quasi-) regional centres that would have relationships with local government and with 'health tourism'
  • a 'Peto-premium' service
The essence of the plan – for Hungarians – is to reduce 'Budapest-centredness' so that the Pető method should be available close to people's homes.

Since then, new foreign adventures have been announced, in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Russia and Serbia:

Meanwhile another possibly strategic proposal has emerged, with major potential significance for the very essence of Conductive Education as it is known and taught –

Negotiations are going on about possible cooperation with Semmelweis University, but the Senates of two institutions will decide on this.

What sort of 'possible cooperation'? As ever, the devil will be in the detail

All very strange. Confusing even. No wonder one hears pletyka about what is going on. Perhaps all will become clearer over the summer. Than could be a good time to put all these ducks in a row and see perhaps where they are heading.

Thursday, 20 April 2017


Funny peculiar, or funny ha-ha?

PAF meets medi-business

In Budapest the quest goes on, to monetise CE –

Pető Premium Point

The scope of Medicina Health Centre's services will be expanded from April 2017 onwards. We are the first in Hungary and in the world to say that we are launching the first Pető Premium Point with the Pető Institute...

[...much more besides, including prices]

Some people in Budapest should be hoping that András Pető had it wrong about reincarnation.

Not much else to say really. One should wish them luck.


Crazy word. Crazy world
All our futures?

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I am surprised that I first came across this word only a few days ago when I read it in The Times.

It refers to an all-pervading process in contemporary economics, finance, business, management, politics, social change. It signifies something that we all know to be an integral feature of modern life, like the air itself so pervasive that one hardly needs mention it at all, what we used to call 'cutting out the middle man'.

Pick your own, do it yourself, self-service, vending machines, automatic tills, self-driving vehicles, eBay, e-commerce, e-publishing, artificial intelligence, robotics, cost-savings, delayered management, redundancies, obsolete jobs, retraining, unemployment... See it all around you.

As I sit at home preparing to self-publish this posting, I see that the (automatic) spell-check on my personal computer is well ahead of me and already recognises 'disintermediation' as part of the English language. No doubt there are equivalent words in languages other than English.

There is also a word 'reintermediation' (not yet in my computer's spell-check, but Google has it).

Conductive Education?

Conductive Education's provision, development, even its very theory, are at any time and in in any place inextricably part of their social, material and ideological contexts. They share the technological and economic constraints and opportunities of the differing societies in which we live and work.

The Hungary in which all those years ago András Pető, Mária Hária  and others developed and consolidated what we today call Conductive Education was a society that was predominantly low-wage, low-cost, and nominally socialistic. This saw emergence of a particular conductive practice and provision. The Western world into which these have now seeped over the last thirty-odd years provides some very different contexts. Hong Kong has provided a quite different one again. So of course does modern-day Hungary!

From the outset of Conductive Education's internationalisation, financial constraint has been an almost universal governing factor in what has been done and achieved. Spot your own examples of how this comes across, remembering that what people do will may soon be reflected on how they talk about it, and how they think and explain. Even what they believe.

Remember too that, like them or loath them, the resulting developments need not necessarily be either good or bad.

From the outset of this internationalisation parents, conductors and others have sought and found diverse ways to escher the notion of a large-scale institutions, going instead for direct client-provider models, at first within families' own homes, often of late through conductors' own private practices.

Still to be articulated in the context of the modern world, however,  is the radical disintermediation of cutting out the too-expensive and barely available conductors, as was first exemplified, articulated and advocated by Karóly and Magda Ákos back in the nineteen eighties – and largely ignored ever since..

Impossible? Even ten years ago, who would ever have thought of a driverless taxi? Before discounting the very notion of conductorless conduction, just think of all those other jobs, trades and professions that have already vanished or will follow them very soon. As Mária Hári used to say –

There are many roads to Rome

One such possible way as Goethe put it (the Ákoses quoted this as the epigraph to their book Dina)

There is a way... the mothers!

There could doubtless be others.


Ákos, K., Ákos, M. (1989) Dina: eine Mütte praktiziert die konduktive Pädagogik Education (Petö System), Ulm: Alabanda Verlag

Ákos, K., Ákos, M. (1991) Dina: a mother practises Conductive Education (Pető System), Birmingham and Ulm: Foundation for Conductive Education and Alabanda Verlag

Wednesday, 19 April 2017


All quiet on the Russian front

Image result for russian eagle

Less than two weeks ago Conductive World reported on the PAF's officially sponsored training deal in St Petersburg:

Since then the Russian-language pages of PAF's website, announcing forthcoming short CE experiences in Budapest for the children of Russian-speaking families, remain apparently quiescent:

The page publicising conductive-training remains in place:

Three years ago the Hungarian Medical Center in Moscow was marketing inclusive health-tourism visits to what was then still the PAI:

The Center is no longer on line at its old URL.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017


'A good wine needs no bush'

It was Emma McDowell who told me that Jó bornak nem kell cégér had been a favourite saying of Mária Hári's.

Emma was at a loss to offer a meaningful English translation. She has found the dictionary-stated English equivalent but that meant nothing to her – or at the time to me either. I had simply never heard the this proverb, and it rang no bells.

Custom and saying

The custom of indicating an inn with a green branch or bush goes back in Europe to at least classical times. It was known in China too.

The proverbial saying that Mária favoured occurs in various European languages. In modern terms it means:

A good thing needs no advertising

Many modern English pubs still include a bush in their names, 'The Old Bush', The Ivy Bush', 'The Holly Bush', 'The Bull and Bush' etc. The bush in this sense remains an unquestioned part of the culture.


The saying 'A good wine needs no bush' was enough established in English for Shakespeare to be able to assume that his audience would know what was it meant when he quoted it in Rosalind's Epilogue to As you Like it (1599).

Actually Shakespeare did not buy into the folk wisdom of this then already old adage. As a businessman and political publicist he knew better. Through Rosalind he said –

If it be true that good wine needs
no bush, 'tis true that a good play needs no
epilogue; yet to good wine they do use good bushes,
and good plays prove the better by the help of good

Climate change

It seems worthwhile remarking that at one time England was a wine-growing country. Presumably the custom of signalling wine with a bush died out in this country as the climate changed, with the proverb following it into extinction. I have to presume that further south in Europe, where the wine persisted over the centuries, the custom also persisted and, along with it, the saying.

Now in the 21st century the climate is changing again. Wine is once more grown in England, and rather good some of it, I am told – even the French say. so. The custom of displaying a bush or branch to signal the sale of wine just might reappear in the new English wine-growing regions, and Mária's favoured saying could therefore once more regain currency in the English language.

Whether this old saying is true or not, there are plenty of modern-day contexts in which it can be applied as a discussion point – not least in Conductive Education.

My own translation?

Good wine needs no bullshit

My own experience suggests that on balance I am, reluctantly, on the side of Shakespeare with this one, much as I should like the world to be otherwise.

A line of thinking

Emma's mention of this proverb favoured by Mária Hári''s had come up as part of a Comment on a posting on Conductive World. This posting has been itself written in response to a thought-provoking and salutary blog-posting on a most fundamental characteristic of Conductive Education – its essentially non-prescriptive nature:

I do wish that I could come up with a snappy and memorable way proverbialising that.

Friday, 14 April 2017


Please don't ask what this film
has to do with Conductive Education!
Margarita with a Straw was previewed on Conductive World nearly two years ago

It concerns growing up with cerebral palsy, including emerging sexuality.

See the trailer

And perhaps order a video

And this one really is available on Amazon:


*   I know not a single statement from 'within Conductive Education' about the themes  in this film. What apparent collective wisdom does CE have to hold out to young adults with disabling motor disorders? What has is learned from them? What is its demonstrable contribution?

NB  I have worded the above paragraph carefully. There may have been some extraordinarily valuable experiences over the years: indeed it is hard to see how there could not have been. But if such there have been, this has not entered the public domain. 

Maybe there will be a flurry of dissenting Comments, here on this blog or its Facebook page, to demonstrate to me and to anyone else who shares this impression how wrong and ignorant we are being about this. I do hope so.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017


A bit of a mystery

Image result for "arrow cross" flag

This film Walking with the Enemy was originally scheduled to be released for showing in cinemas some four years ago, during 2013:

The film is set it in Budapest in 1944-45, concerning two separate personal stories, based upon those of two Hungarians, Pinchas Tibor Rosenbaum, Jewish Resistance fighter, (renamed Elek Cohen in this film), and Admiral Miklos Horthy, Regent of Hungary. The film is a fairly lavish Hollywood production.

Delay and availability

Unaccountably, the film was not completed and released in 2013 as intended, nor on a second release date announced for 2014:

Instead, a sequence of re-edited trailers was released on line:

The film itself has been shown in a succession art houses in the United States and Canada. It has not been publicly shown elsewhere in the world, and no video was been released.

Still without explanation, a video edition has now been released in the United States:

There is no news yet of when this might be for sale in the rest of the world., nor of general cinema release anywhere.

I understand that specific changes have been made to the contentsover the last three years, but not what they might be.

I have not yet myself seen the video. It can now be bought from Amazon in the United States. I am in England: after three years' delay I can wait a little longer to see it, in expectation of local availability soon without my paying massive overseas postage.


There can be various reasons for studios' withholding a film's release, including financial and artistic. There may also be political reasons.

This was always going to be a sensitive film to make and to market. Jews were rounded up for organised murder not by Adolf Eichmann's tiny handful of Germans in beautifully cut SS uniforms. This was done by fellow Hungarians, particularly by the efforts of the armed Arrow Cross militia, along with the Hungarian Gendarmerie and police, and the local authorities. That would be a hard one in any circumstances to explain to general audiences within the confines of a Hollywood movie.

This would have been hard enough four or five years ago when the film was being made, though it may be more sensitive still in the Spring of 2017, given the activities and the direction of the present Hungarian Government. One can hardly imagine a more provocative time to release a film depicting the fascistic and genocidal activities under the short-lived Hungarian governments of late 1944-early 1945  – though of course present circumstances in Hungary could yet deteriorate more, and the world wake up further to the direction of the regime of Viktor Orbán, the 'Great Viktator'.

Four or five years ago it would also have been hard enough for any film to deal sympathetically with Miklós Horthy. With the passing of time there is of course no harm in reappraising the life of any historical figure. Indeed, it may be desirable to do so. Again, however, 2017 is perhaps not the best time to be doing this do this for Miklós Horthy, given the emergence of something of a contentious public Horthy-cult in Hungary that is perhaps more related to present political trends rather than to a desire for historical fairness or accuracy.

I am sufficiently puzzled by the unexplained delay to this film's release to wonder how far the wait has been somehow 'political'. What is that new extension to its title about anyway – A hero emerges? Not Pinchas Tibor Rosenbaum, surely? His heroism has been known of for years. Might this just possibly refer to Miklós Horthy?

I can hardly believe that. Can I?

For the moment, perhaps the studio hopes that the film will get an easier ride in the United States than in Europe and the United Kingdom.

Horse's mouth