Thousands of students gathered in front of the Parliament Building to demand a “change of regime” in education and a “fairer, more democratic and student-focused” educational system last Friday, the second time in the past few months such a protest has been held.
Organizer Viktor Gyetvai, of the Independent Student Parliament, said that the Ministry of Human Resources had not responded to their demands, listed in twelve points, that they made during the previous demonstration in January, and that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had not held a debate with them either. In response, the students have invited the prime ministerial candidates of the opposition parties for a public debate on the education system.
Three of the prime ministrial candidates of the four parliamentary factions – Gergely Karácsony of the Socialist-Párbeszéd alliance, Gábor Vona of far-right Jobbik and Bernadett Szél of green party LMP – have accepted the invitation for the debate, which is scheduled to take place on March 12th.
Organizers have announced their next demonstration of the series as well: it will be held on the National Holiday, March 15th, at 5 p.m. in front of the Hungarian State Opera House.
Education is a recurring topic of debate in Hungary. Last year, in November, opposition parties held a meeting, initiated by green party LMP, to discuss setting up “minimum standards” in education policy. They accused the government of lacking openness to long-term strategies, and of hindering students’ access to higher education.
In addition to these debates, Hungarian secondary students usually perform worse than average among OECD countries in the area of collaborative problem-solving, according to the PISA international assessment of educational attainment published last year.
featured photo: Zoltán Adrián / Képszerkesztőség