"We firmly believe that the civil disobedience of our colleagues also sets an example for future generations to create a successful, autonomous society," ELTE teachers working in higher education wrote.Continue reading
After more and more teachers started protesting, first in Budapest, then in other cities in the country, now teachers in Christian schools are joining the “civil disobedience” movement as well.
Protesting in schools continued on Tuesday, with 137 teachers and 203 support staff from 17 church schools joining the protests of teachers mainly working in public schools. As we have reported before, they think that the government decree of February 11th makes it impossible for them to exercise their right to strike.
A press release was sent to Telex about the “Protest by 340 teachers from church schools.” As they write, “We do not see any proposals from the ministry responsible for education to solve the problems of public education, which were also criticized in the resolution signed by 1,600 of our colleagues in 2020. We are concerned about the difficulties and unsustainability of public education.
We are convinced that the best way to serve the good and the future of those entrusted to us now is to join the civil disobedience action unfolding in the country’s state and church schools, following the voice of our Christian conscience.”
They also added that “We agree with our fellow teachers that striking is a fundamental right,” and that “the action is not against the provider, the management, our colleagues or our students, and is not partisan. We are aware of the concept of civil disobedience and accept the consequences.”
On Tuesday morning on Móricz Zsigmond square, teachers from church schools gathered under the statue of Saint Emeric of Hungary, the patron saint of youth, 444 reported. Before they could start their civil disobedience action, two policemen approached, having received a citizen’s report, and wrote down the details of one of the organizers.
After six years of university, I did a six-day barista course and now I can earn twice as much as I did as a teacher,”
one teacher said.
444 reported that after the event, several people gave interviews to them, but strictly off-camera, anonymously, and without mentioning the name of their school. This caution may be justified by the statement of the Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference: “The Catholic diocesan authorities do not consider it appropriate to incite public opinion, especially during an election campaign. In all cases, they prefer a negotiated solution to demands.” In addition, the Synod of the Reformed Church wrote to 444 when asked if they support this kind of expression by their teachers, saying: “The Reformed Church of Hungary expects all teachers in its employ to abide by the law in all cases.”
“I’ve been in the profession for many decades, if now is the time, then now is the time. It is written: the proclamation of the truth is required in both appropriate and inappropriate situations. Professionalism has been missing for a very long time.
Up there, decisions about textbooks and content are made by people who last saw a child twenty years ago. There is no communication between those who do the practice and those who dream it up.
The pace of change is also accelerating: every four years there is a new generation, and we need to change the way we address them,” someone told 444 at the protest. Another teacher said that in church schools it might be particularly difficult to discuss that this is not a party political issue. There is an image in many people that strikes, trade unions, civil disobedience, and civil movements are left-wing actions.
The website also asked another teacher about how accurate the public perception is that the conditions in church schools are better than in state schools. The answer was that “This is true in terms of infrastructure.
Church schools are generally in better condition, the building, the equipment is better. But the salaries are the same.
We don’t get paid for overtime, we substitute for free, we don’t have the same bonuses as in state schools. At the same time, the majority of church schools have a choice of applicants, so it can be said that our teachers meet students who are easier to teach. Church schools are not obliged to admit students who belong to the district, which is obviously why segregation can develop quickly.”
A young teacher even said that “I will remain a teacher until I get married or have children. As long as I am ruining my own life with this so-called stupid hobby, I will be happy to stay in the profession, but after that, I cannot make the sacrifice of being a teacher for others,” adding that he spends more time in the school than at home and that even on weekends, one day is spent on work-related tasks.
The teachers of Christian schools also sang Hallelujah in front of the Saint Emeric statue:
The banners say “Do not be afraid!”, “Who will teach tomorrow?”, and “Everything good starts small!”
The teachers also added in their statement that “At the same time we express our sympathy to all the victims of the war in our neighborhood. We encourage our colleagues to help students understand and process the events. We are doing the same ourselves.”
Featured image via Zoltán Máthé/MTI