The operation of after-school program for disadvantages students ("Tanodas") and their framework of volunteering

Norbert Szűcs – József Balázs Fejes



Volunteers have been an integral part of after-school programs for disadvantaged students ("Tanoda") from the start, and due to the increase in the number of programs and the spread of the culture of volunteerism, such activity has become a widely identifiable practice in Hungary today. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the objectives and operation of after-school programs in order to offer an interpretive framework for volunteering in such or similar type of programs. In our study, we first outline the broader context of educational equity in Hungary, then we present the general characteristics of the operation of after-school programs. In addition, we will review the framework and possible advantages of volunteering both from the point of view of after-school programs and volunteers. We will specifically address the positive consequences of involving teacher trainees and higher education students who are preparing for helping professions. Reviewing the topic clarifies that volunteering is a significant capacity-building element from the point of view of after-school programs. The work of volunteers helps to compensate for the lack of resources caused by underfunding and provides an opportunity to diversify the program and fill in the missing competencies. For volunteers, working in an after-school program can enhance community experiences and altruistic motivations, and the acquired experiences and references can positively impact their careers. Because of the latter aspect, volunteering at an after-school program may be especially useful for teacher trainees and students preparing for helping professions.

Keywords: volunteering, after-school program for disadvantaged students, educational equity, social inequalities