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Hungarian Students Demonstrate for Fairer Education

Ábrahám Vass 2018.01.22.

Nearly 1,800 students gathered near the Parliament building in Budapest on Friday to demonstrate for “fairer, more democratic and student-centred” education. Daniella Tóth, a university student from Győr in west Hungary, said that higher education lacks freedom of speech and does not provide equal opportunities.

Photo: Szigetváry Zsolt/ MTI.

She accused the student loan system of depriving young adults of freedom of movement. Krisztián Kormos, spokesman of the Independent Student Parliament, slammed the inconsistencies and rapidly changing requirements in the education system. Contributors, including secondary pupils and university students, called for a dialogue with decision makers to eliminate what they qualified as

a system raising anxious and indecisive adults.

Many cited the excessive workload students face, as well as the worn out equipment and rundown buildings found at many schools. Participants were given flyers with the students’ demands, including a reduced lesson load to 30 hours a week for 14-18 year-olds and 25 for under-14s. The leftist Democratic Coalition’s Gergely Arató, Párbeszéd co-leader Tímea Szabó, and Együtt leader Péter Juhász attended the event.

Education is often a topic of debate in Hungary. In November of last year opposition parties held a meeting 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, the fact remains that 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.

via image: Sióréti Gábor