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Half of Undergraduates in Teacher Education Leave before Finishing School

Péter Cseresnyés 2019.07.26.

Only less than half of the students who were accepted to teacher education finish their training, leftist daily Népszava reports. Thirty percent of undergraduates leave college after one year while another 30% after five years.

According to a report published by the Ministry of Human Resources to an information request from independent MP Bernadett Szél, in the 2018/2019 school year, 12,634 people started their education and professional training required to fill teaching positions, but only 8026 students obtained their diplomas in the same year, while the number of people starting their career as a teacher only slightly exceeded six thousand. The proportions have changed little in recent years. For example, in the 2013/2014 school year, 13,874 people started their studies in this field, with 8,000 graduates and a little less than 6,000 people who actually started working as a teacher.

Hungary’s Education Unrest Turns Political As Frustrated Teachers Hold Nationwide Demo

The biggest gap between the number of those starting their studies in the field and those actually entering the profession was in 2014/2015 with over 15,000 going to college while only 5,000 who graduated actually started teaching.

Tamás Szűcs, head of the teachers’ trade union PDSZ, thinks these numbers are not surprising at all. A freshly graduated teacher today earns gross 180,000 forints (EUR 550) a month while with the same teaching degree, they can do much better in other professions, Szűcs says.

Teacher Union Calls for Independent Education Ministry

The government’s education policies have been criticized for a long time. Previously, both PDSZ and other teachers’ trade union PSZ talked about going on strike if the government did not resolve the situation of teachers.

A few days ago, the youth branch of  PSZ even launched a photo campaign on Facebook and Instagram to illustrate how extremely low many of the teachers’ wages are.


A bejegyzés megtekintése az Instagramon


143.931.- 4 év egyetem 4 év tapasztalat #sztrájk #pedagógusvagyok #mutasdafizud #mutimennyitkeresel #tartsvelünk #psz #kezünkbenajövő

PSZ Országos Ifjúsági Tagozat (@pszifi) által megosztott bejegyzés,

In these posts, teachers submitted photos of themselves showing their net salary and how many years they had to study and work to earn this much. The outcry also notes that despite the government’s statements, they had not received a salary increase in six years.

Due to low salaries, many among the younger generations consider teaching as a poor career prospect. This threatens with a huge teacher shortage in the country in the coming years, although many are already talking about the high number of missing teachers in education.

Unions, Opposition Call for Nationwide Demonstrations

Recently, opposition Democratic Coalition announced they would write to all school district heads to find out how many teachers are missing from Hungarian public education, with a view to working on a solution. According to DK MP Gergely Arató, all sectors of public education suffer from a shortage of teachers. “It is the responsibility of the government, which stripped teachers of their independence and humiliated them at every turn.” Young teachers are expected to teach children for as little as 130,000-140,000 forints a month (EUR 399.5-430.2), he said.

Govt to Raise Teachers’ Wages to Keep Them in the Profession

To tackle the problem, according to the government, teachers will get a significant wage increase in 2020. Recently Bence Rétvári, a state secretary of the human resources ministry, said that the 2020 budget will boost funding for education as well as for family subsidies, health care, and pensions.

Featured photo by Zoltán Balog/MTI