Monday, 31 July 2017


Countdown nearly complete

...At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps... when we step out from the old to new, when an age ends... a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us.

Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future? ... the past is over and it is the future that beckons to us now. That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving...

This is no time for petty and destructive criticism, no time for ill will or blaming others. The appointed day has come... The past clings on to us still in some measure and we have to do much... Yet the turning point is past, and history begins anew for us, the history which we shall live and act and others will write about...We have hard work ahead...

(Jawaharlal Nehru, 14 August, 1947)

I chose  these words from Nehru's Tryst with Destiny, to mark the passing of the PAF, not because they are directly relevant, even heavily edited as they are here, but because they are fine ones (notwithstanding what we know from the wisdom of hindsight). 

What comes next will be the making of midnight's children, not just in Hungary but around the world...

Along with them, those new generations already emerging, users and providers, already well versed in confronting the  realities of new and fast-changing social contexts in divers countries around the world.

Perhaps this is as good a time as any to think increasingly of tip-toeing away and leaving them to their future, whatever that might be...

A terminological note

I have been cautioned that readers who read English as a foreign language may not immediately understand expressions like 'D minus one', 'D minus two' etc.

The English-language military term 'D-day', now a common usage, originated in the United States towards the end of the the First War and refers to the appointed day for commencing a major operation. The days leading up to such a big day are usually designated as 'D-3' 'D-2', 'D-1', etc. The actual time that the operation is scheduled to begin is designated as 'H-Hour' (led up to in its turn by 'H-3', 'H-2', H-1', etc.)

Other languages may have their own equivalents. The German, I think. is der Tag X. My favourite is the Indonesian, Hari-H.

In the present context the day for implementing the incorporation of the PAF (the András Pető College) into the Semmelweis Medical University is 1 August, tomorrow, presumably with effect from midnight tonight.


What now?

Norman Perrin blogs –

In a few days' time, on the 1st August, the Petö Andras College will be absorbed into the Semmelweis Medical University.

Of what then will I be an Honorary Conductor?

The Honorary Conductor Award has been conferred by the Senate of the Pető Institute at the recommendation of the International Peto Foundation. Following nationalisaton in 2014, the András Pető College as the Institute's successor organisation took up this custom. With tomorrow's further reorganisation, the Senate of the András Pető College will cease to exist and, if this custom is to continue, then granting this Award will have to be assumed by some other organisation. Either within the Semmelweis Medical University or without.

Whatever happens, technically Norman will be an Honorary Conductor of the Pető András for the rest of his life, the body that made the Award back in 2013, and will remain so whatever happens to the Award in future years (including its possible discontinuation). If so wishes. he is entitled to continue using what will be a historical title (as I suppose, very strictly speaking, it has been since the year after he was awarded it).. This will be nobody's business but his own. Those who were made Honorary Conductors after the Pető Institute was renationalised to become the PAF, may similarly continue to refer to themselves as Honorary Conductors of the András Pető College, should they so wish.
Neither the Pető Institute/ András Pető College nor the international Pető Foundation have established routine communication with Honorary Conductors. I strongly suspect that many, perhaps even most Honorary Conductors know anything about the current fate of the organisation that presented them with their Award, or of the circumstances that have led up the present situation. They may never know.
Norman also writes –
In the great scheme of things, it matters not a lot. But it matters to me. 
In other words it is just one of these personal details that may go unnoticed in corporate reorganisations, unless someone makes a fuss.

World Congresses

By the way, it has been customary for these Awards to be made on the occasion of the time-to-time clan-gatherings of the World Congress of Conductive Education. These are also organised under the auspices of the International Pető Foundation, the actual work being wholly in the hands of a local CE organisation. I have heard conflicting accounts of where the next (the tenth) such Congress will be held.


Perrin, N. (2017) Proud to be an Honorary Conductor – but of what? C.E. Jottings, 31 July

Sunday, 30 July 2017


CE journal article published
On line, free, open-access

Schenker, R., Rigbi, A., Parush, S., Yochman, A. (2017) A survey on parent-conductor relationship: unveiling the black box, International Journal of Special Education, vol. 2, no 2, pp. 387-412


Teacher's perceptions and attitudes regarding working with parents are critical factors contributing components perceived by conductors (teachers in Conductive Education settings) as being cornerstone of successful parent-conductor relationships. The Conductors and Parents Questionnaire of children with disabilities was administrated to thirty-seven conductors (97% consent rate). Conductors identified working with parents, exploring parent goals, degree of parental investment and instilling a sense of confidence in parents as the most significant factors enabling a child’s progress. Evidence of significant factors contributing to successful partnerships emphasize delivering services in a wider context, in which families and not just children are the focus for support

A PDF of the complete article is now on line:

Scroll down to find pp. 387-412

Thanks, Rony, for letting me know of this.

From the same stable, a year ago


Seeking his kind of medicine



As the clock ticks towards the final day of the PAF (András Pető College) in distant Budapest my own thoughts have turned towards what I personally might like to see spin out of the coming change.

I am not talking here about what might be the best possible outcome for the world of Conductive Education and its future development, nor even the future of the present institution in Budapest (not necessarily the same thing at all). What might be painted on such wide canvasses is beyond my power to foresee. I wonder here only about what might please me...

Different groups and different individuals – both in Hungary itself and around the world of Conductive Education – will doubtless be hoping for a very wider range of possible outcomes. And there are likely many who will not be giving the slightest heed to this whole business.

Granting Sod's Law as applied to those who play the game of company doctors' (i.e., the Law of Unintended Consequences), what might bring some pleasure to me personally from the incorporation that comes into force with effect from tomorrow midnight?

What might emerge as an unintended treat for me from the PAF's incorporation into the Semmelweis Medical University would be proper incorporation into the history of medicine of the story of András Pető and his motor therapy – how it emerged and what has subsequently happened to it worldwide. Something better than the established story of 'Professor Pető the Hungarian neurologist', and the attendant world-famous narrative.

I have tried to to peep into András Pető's thinking but I am far too far removed from Central Europe, geographically and conceptually, to have make much of a fist of this. Semmelweis University seems as good a position as anywhere to make a start.

I do not expect something better from day one, but the Medical University is going to have to start saying something acceptable about is newest specialism...

A reference

Sutton, A. (2014) A philosophy of science and CE Conductive World, 29 July

Saturday, 29 July 2017


BS qualification for conductors



Conductor Krisztina Weiszhaupt

It a nearly two years now since details began to emerge of the conductor-training course at ADU, the Adventist University of Health Sciences, in Orlando, Florida. This course leads to a BS health-science degree – BSCE:

Up-to-date information on this course:

Also at the above URL

Program Information

The Bachelor’s of Science in Conductive Education (BSCE) program is a 4 year program consisting of 2 years of general education coursework followed by 2 years of conductive education concentration including clinical experiences during 4 trimesters. The goal of the program is to graduate professionals who are educated in the health needs of individuals with motor disorders, principles of pedagogy, and liberal studies. These graduates will be able to work as conductor-educator specialists in conductive education settings and in sites that assist individuals with motor disorders such as clinics and schools.

Program Mission Statement

The mission of the Bachelor’s of Science in Conductive Education program is supportive of the Adventist University of Health Sciences’ mission through the provision of quality educational experiences to prepare competent conductor-educator specialists who are able to use critical thinking skills effectively address the daily living needs of individuals living with motor disorders. The program will provide experiences to develop a professional graduate who is able to reason critically, to use evidence-based resources, and provide competent services in a caring and spiritual manner.

Place in the world

The conductor-training course at ADU leads to a bachelor's degree in science (BS). When it started it was the world's first conductor-training course to be situated in a health-science context. No new courses have been announced since then.

For reasons peculiar to itself, the PAF (former Petð Institute) is about to be incorporated into the Semmelweis Medical University in Budapest.

Because of the structure of ADU's course its first BS graduate conductors are already entering the workplace:

From next Tuesday (1 August) these two conductor-training courses based in health-science universities – the one by far the world's longest-lived, the other the newest – will make for interesting comparison.

ADU's conductor-training course is not included in the list of 'educational institutes that offer training on Conductive Education worldwide' on the website of ACENA (Association of Conductive Education in North America).

Earlier postings on the ADU course

Friday, 28 July 2017


The past... and the future


András Pető was at loggerheads with much of the Hungarian medical establishment of his time. 

The professional community despised him. They were circulating rumours that he didn't have a medical degree, that he was a quack. They were constantly trying to dump him. Well, he was an eccentric. He wasn't a conformist.

(Péter Popper, p.79)

They said he was a charlatan who treated patients with strange instructions, methods and medication!

Mária Hári, p.87

He himself was to blame for the fact doctors and other professionals believed it to be some kind of personal magnetism or suggestion.

Károly and Magda Ákos – p.85

This is how he put the problem – 

Look, they bring a person in here, he can't move. They roll him in here, then I meditate. I look for the therapeutic movements that he needs, then we'll do those.

Then they ask me 

         – How are you healing?

I can't say 'I'm meditating', they'll regard me as a cretin and they'll take the children off me', and so on and so on.

So he couldn't say this but he had to say something, and meditating wasn't a good enough explanation.

(Vekerdy, p. 81)

By 1953 he was boldly asserting the overarching, explicitly stated theoretical statement of his career, that his conductive motor therapy was in fact a special pedagogy.

The Ministry of Health did not like András Pető and more than once tried to close down his Institute.

Gábor Palotás, who also belonged to his circle of friends, came in out of breath.

The Professor has been put into retirement.

That's no problem, said the Professor, the problem is that the paper boy is still a long way down the street. 

He picked up the receiver and called the Party Central Committee, one of the bigwigs, I'm not saying his name on purpose, and he said –

Pető here. I have been put into retirement, yet again.

The Ministry rescinded its intent to retire him a week later and apologised to Pető.

They didn't like Pető, they would have done anything they could to close the Institute.

(Péter Popper, p. 83)

He wanted to be out from under their control and their persistent opposition. They rejected him. Correspondingly, he rejected them.

Pető kept assuring that he could not justify curing as was expected, so he would go over to the Ministry of Culture and provide education, and then he might be allowed to work in peace. 

(Éva Beck – p.80)

He finally pulled this off.

The medical community wanted to destroy Pető. Then a stroke of genius came to mind... the main idea, he cooked it up together with Sándor Török (the writer), was this --

I can't warrant 'curing'. I have to get rid of the doctors. I don't cure, I 'bring up' and I 'educate.'

Therefore the original name – Movement Therapy Institute – was changed to Movement Education and Teacher Training Institute.

This gambit will transfer me from the Ministry of Health to the Ministry of Education. Education is allowed, since it's not a science – not in the same sense as medicine. I'll say I educate, and then they'll leave me alone.

           Tamás Vekerdy, p. 80

His victory came only after a long, political battle – 

...through the cooperation and help of many friends, including Sandor Torok, there came the great twist; Peto – and his Institute – do not treat these children, they educate and develop them. So the Institute was not a therapeutic, a medical institution, and no longer came under the Ministry of Health.

Tamás Vekerdy, p. 84

In the end, only in 1963, he finally succeeded in politicking his Institute out from Heath and into Education, with the particular help of ministers Gyula Ortutay, Béla Bizsku and György Aczél. The Minster of Culture at that time was Pál Ilku who wrote to congratulate him on this transfer, and on his seventieth birthday –

You have had to face lots of difficulties on your way, and lack of understanding, but now it is clear that the large-scale introduction of our pedagogical method is inevitable. I honour your strength and persistence in pursuing your noble aims.

(Tamás Vekerdy, p. 81)

The above selection was extracted from the Pető Quotationary to which the page numbers refer.

Myth or reality?

True of false? Is this narrative a fair account of what really happened, or something more partial, part of the smokescreen that András Pető generated around himself, his ideas and his work? Is it just part of conductive pedagogy's Creation Myth, or has this tale been in itself an essential component of the continuing story, part of the glue been vital to holding the system together through all its travails? Who knows? 

Now in 2017, at the direction of a very different government with very different goals, PAF (the former András Pető Insittute) is to be incorporated into the Semmelweis Medical University, at the heart of Hungary's medical establishment. What will happen to this story now?


(2013) CEP Quotationary of András Pető and his Conductive Education, Birmingham, CEP


NZ's next CE centre ready to start at Taranaki

Zak Nielsen, who is nearly 6, tries out the new climbing wall at the Conductive Education classroom at Westown School.

Update from Taranaki Daily News:

Conductor returning to New Zealand from Norway.

What this has taken

Nearly three long years ago:

Thursday, 27 July 2017


A matter of degree


It is not too early to start wondering about what might happen about conductor-education/training in Budapest under its new auspices. No doubt those directly involved are having to do more than ust wonder. They have to act. This merger was imposed top-down upon the Senates of the two institutions earlier this year, as an apparently urgent solution to problems at the PAF. Within these, questions arising specifically over the professional preparation of conductors alone would ideally take longer than that to resolve.

Still, needs must when the devil drives.

What might one expect? Who knows? It seems unlikely that complete change have been achieved at a stroke ready for implementation on D-Day 1 August, ready for the start of the new academic year soon afterwards. It seems likely that evolution to suit a new environment will thereafter be the order of the day for quite some time to come.

Here are a few points that just might prove relevant

  • Semmelweis is a modern medical university in the tradition of contemporary natural sciences, and an established range of possibly relevant disciplinary centres are already well established there
  • one of these is the Department of Physiotherapy / Division of Physical Education
  • medical universities award science degrees (e.g. BS and MS) rather than degrees in the humanities such as BA and MA
  • this distinction represents much more than just a matter of letters and words – it reflects a different ethos
  • education/training in physiotherapy and physical education at Semmelweis are acknowledged with BS and MS degrees
  • conductor education/training may find itself falling in line – in which case the question is when, with the new intake starting this September, or following a longer transition period
  • the actual content of the courses in their new institutional and cultural context
  • arrangements for students already part way through their courses
  • possible implications of such a change, positive or negative, for future employment of conductors in countries around the world
  • ...etc., etc.

One of matter for public and political concern over the PAF lay in validating its qualifications. How this might have been resolved has not entered the public domain. Incorporation into Semmelweis, whatever its other effects, might deal with this matter once and for al.

And what about the Library and its Archive? Semmelweis has a very long established scholarly Archive and Library, and Department of the History of Medicine. It will be hardly surprising of the opportunities of the merger do not emancipate some serious attention to the written record. This may free up scholarly access to the conductive system and its knowledge base, but how might what emerges sit with the current world-famous Creation Myth?

It is worth noting by the way that the Semmelweis will not be the first medical university to host conductor education/training leading to BS degrees to mark conductor qualification, ADU (Adventist University of Health Sciences in Orlando, Florida) being now half-way through its first intake.

Two other departments mentioned here

A little more on Semmelweis's library system

The mission of the Central Library is to support education, research and healing work of Semmelweis University and to provide special literature of proper quality and quantity for the university staff, students and other professionals. Comprehensive collection, processing and providing literature in a fast, precise, up-to-date and cost-effective manner by expert cooperation from the librarians. The library and its services belong to the essential functions of the university...

The total holdings of departmental libraries: 250,000 volumes. Number of current periodicals: 484 titles.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017


Business as usual?


There is less than a week now, only six days to go  till D-Day for the PAF's incorporation into the Semmeweis Medical University, on Tuesday 1 August.

The PAF's mostly Hungarian website has been silent for weeks now, with no further mention of the immanent change:

Its English- and Russian-language pages, devoted chiefly to marketing short-term services for foreign clients, the PAF's 'health tourism' business, continue to operate as before, notifying sessions up until the end of 2017:

The Facebook page (unusually busy with feel-good stories) during recent months has gone quieter over the last few days:

All the above may be no more that par for the end of July, any year.

There is nothing to see yet on Semmelweis's site:

And there has been no interest in the Hungarian-language media during this apparent interregnum, except for news of off-site services' opening (Transylvania, Poland, Pécs).

Being the scenes, who knows? Countdown periods may create intensive work for those directly involved, and communication with the outside world may not be a priority.