Report on our first think tank event

The first WP2 event of our  project, a Think Tank forum, on the state of data collection and provision in the context of school inequalities, took place in Budapest on April 27th. Several Hungarian social scientists, with extensive experience and knowledge of the topic, attended the event, as well as the former Data Protection Commissioner, the Director of the Institute of Education at ELTE University, the CEO of TÁRKI TUDOK ZRT, the Department Head of the Department of Sociology of Education of the Hungarian Sociological Association, the Head of the Quality of Life Statistics Department of KSH, the Head of the Education, Culture and Time Use Statistics Department of KSH, and representatives of the project partners Oltalom Charity Organization, Wesley College, RCDI, and Selye University.

During an exhaustive four-hour exchange, the participants discussed where and how  access to data on school inequality is now available in Hungary and beyond, the types of data that are publicly available and those that are not, the difficulties researchers face in accessing data, and the important role of the KSH Research Room in making data available for researchers.

Both in the Hungarian and in the international context, the possibility of standardizing data provision was discussed as a way of making data more easily and reliably accessible to social researchers in their work. During the discussion, the relevant challenge of data collection was also raised, namely that ethnic identity – a data of primary importance from the point of view of school inequality research – is fluid in many ways, which requires data to be collected in additional ways to that of self-definition. In terms of data provision, most participants identified limited access to individual data as the most challenging and restrictive element, in their work of creating longitudinal analyses. As a result, they pointed out the need to centralize and link the available databases in a way that would allow for the analysis of individual life histories while complying with GDPR.