Tuesday, 8 July 2014


Tibor Franka

Towards the end of the nineteen-eighties, Party authority over Hungary was fraying. A young journalist Tibor Franka began publishing articles in the newspaper Magyar Hirlap, vigorously advocating that the Hungarian state should take a leading hand in ensuring that the Pető Institute's then burgeoning trade involving Western parents (particularly at that point parents from the United Kingdom) should be controlled, with financial benefit to Hungary.
He was not alone in this but his voice was publicly most pervasive. The picture painted was of hoards of foreign parents with financial resources beyond the dreams of Hungarians and desperate to bring their motor-disordered children to Hungary, to the Pető Institute, and enjoying the benign support interest of their authorities back home. Along with this came an impression of unquestioned international acceptance of the Pető method by professionals, institutions and disability movements outside Hungary.
This general image appears to have largely survived in Hungary, where it is publicly axiomatic that the Pető method is world-famous and much admired by relevant foreign institutions.. Whatever the truth, it seems to suit politicians and others to go with this image. The creation of the Pető Foundation as one of the dying acts of the Communist administration, along with the International Pető Appeal (for around seventy-five million US dollars, I recall) and the launch of the International Pető Association, also stemmed from this world view. No wonder that in the years since the Pető Institute was declared a Hungarikum, part of the national heritage.

Recalling the relevant events of those years in this light, then Tibor Franka might be regarded as having been one on the most influential personal forces in the history of the early internationalisation of what we has come to be called Conductive Education, and an important factor in helping create the pretty pass that the heritage of András Pető has come to over the years.

Mr Franka himself has long moved on from the conductive matters of twenty-plus years ago, He is now the mayor of Kerepes, a large village (pop some ten thousand) near Gödölö.
Tibor Franka on the Pető Institute, a sample item:
Franka, T. (1988) Furcsa törtenet a Pető András Intézetben. Csábitok ellen – határozattal, Magyar Hirlap, 13 February
The title Magyar Hírlap has seen considerable change over the intervening years. It is now attached to a strongly right-wing publication. Its earlier manifestation is, hardly surprisingly, not maintained on line and none of Tibor Franka's old articles on the Pető Institute can presently be accessed electronically.

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