Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Pető Institute

News in English

No further news of change from the Pető Institute other than what was announced in the Hungarian press more than a weeksomething published on 5 October (with a few explanatory notes added). This has been translated from a piece in the national newspaper Népszabadság. The piece was written by journalist Viktória Kun, who has reported extensively on the coming and goings at the Pető Institute in recent years.

Here’s a taster, in English, published on 5 October (with a few explanatory notes added). This has been translated from a piece in the national newspaper Népszabadság. The piece was written by journalist Viktória Kun, who has reported extensively on the coming and goings at the Pető Institute in recent years.


He will protect the Pető-method

Appointment of new director may end longstanding discord

At one time Franz Schaffhauser used to study the Pető-method. Now, as the new Rector, he would like to renew it. He would like to ensure that the professionals [conductors] do not work abroad as babysitters. Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany has appointed Franz Schaffhauser, a university lecturer in philosophy, German and pedagogy, and a logotherapist, to be Rector of the Pető Institute. The new leader is currently learning about internal issues at the Institute. This appointment may end a long-standing discord. Schaffhauser promises to regain the respect of conductors, further develop the Pető-method and prove its many-layered effectiveness through research.

The Rector will start a programme to justify the uniqueness of conductive pedagogy, based upon psychological criteria.

‘We are not giving up the idea of trade-marking the method, on the contrary we have begun serious legal preparation. Some features of the Pető-method are so distinctive for it to be in the strongest position and competitive too’, says the new leader.

Franz Schaffhauser has started negotiating with foreign partners to set up agreements to help professionals obtain fair employment abroad, and avoid situations in which they are employed as au-pairs or children’s attendants. but instead obtain jobs that recognise their qualifications.

‘In premises purpose-built for the world-famous Pető-method, the Institute was run for a long lime by an inward-looking community that was virtually fighting for its life. The funding from the British government ran out and the agreement finished. There are fewer and fewer foreign patients. It has been declared a
Hungaricum but it is copied in many places, and in many instances the well trained conductors have endangered the method and compromised its essence by delivering the national ‘ treasure’ abroad, through local employment as baby sitters.’

In 2004 a new
kuratorium
was established, under the leadership of Tibor Ferenczi, but this was the start of a whole series of conflicts. The public body and the college leadership had a series of disagreements that ended in court. The Institute's professional, financial and educational leaders described this as arrogance that was ruining the method and thought it unacceptable that a board without expertise should make decisions about professional issues. They also thought that the board, instead of gaining more support and funding, had become the opposition to professional views. On the other hand the board wanted fundamental changes and refreshment of the 'intense' organism. The professional civil war finished in a scandal when last February a new leader was appointed by the board. The college council did not accept Zita Makoi’s leadership. They considered this appointment illegal due to her age. Her lack of relevant academic qualifications and experience in the field also contributed to their rejection.

The ‘Pető people’ arranged petitions, organised demonstrations, and marched on the streets with parents and children.

Over this time Zita Makoi reached 65 years and the Prime Minister therefore recalled her from her position, then reappointed her to manage the Institute temporarily until a new leader was appointed. This has now happened.

Franz Schaffhauser hopes that the internal struggles will end with his appointment.


I am very grateful for help received in translating this piece but I don’t hold out the end result as canonical. To see the original newspaper article in Hungarian, including a nice picture with the caption ‘Keeping busy at the Pető Institute’, go to http://www.nol.hu/cikk/477717


Notes

Logotherapy is a psychotherapy deriving from the Viennese psychoanalyst Viktor Frankl: http://www.logotherapyinstitute.org/life-and-works.html

Hungaricum is a commercial term for a particularly Hungarian product:

http://www.hungary.com/main.php?folderID=967.

Early last year it was proposed that the Pető and Kodály Institutes should also admitted to the ‘Hungaricum Club’ of Hungarian exporters:

http://www.amcham.hu/BusinessHUngary/18-05/articles/18-05_38.asp.

This was just before what Viktória Kun describes here as a ‘scandal’ broke in the Hungarian media.

Kuratorium. The Institute’s governing board consisting, I think, of government appointees.

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