A new study conducted by KSH (Statistic Bureau of Hungary) examines the country’s workforce resources and includes a chapter about the situation of Roma minority in the labor market. It shows that two-thirds of young Roma students between the ages of 18 to 24 are dropping out of school.
The study illustrates that Roma youths have begun dropping out of school at quicker rates (from 57% in 2014 to 63% in 2017). While the EU’s average dropout rate was 10.6 in 2017, Hungary currently ranks in 7th place with 12.6 percent. Sadly, this trend doesn’t appear to show any sign of slowing down. As the yearly statistics have revealed, Hungary has seen an increase of about 0.4 percent since 2012.
The significant decline is primarily caused by the 2012 regulation which lowered the compulsory school age from 18 to 16. The government passed the regulation with the intent of encouraging young people to enter the workforce at an earlier age.
According to the study, four-fifths of Roma youths of working age have completed their primary education and just 22 percent have finished eighth grade. Due to low education levels, their employment prospects are worse than average.
Employment in Hungary at Record High, Unemployment Rate at Historic Low
The employment rate of Roma was 45 percent last year. Despite a significant increase (although one-third were public workers) in the last three years, this number is still far behind the 68 percent employment rate of the whole population.
An education conference entitled The lost illusions was held last week. Zoltán Pokorni, the most influential education policymaker in Fidesz prior to 2010, was among the participants. Pokorni doesn’t have a positive opinion of the current education system. The politician thinks Hungary loses 10 thousand young people annually due to their inability to complete their education. He also added that these students pose a huge burden to the social system because they won’t be able to find proper jobs.
Government: 150-200 thousand people are missing from the job market
According to the government’s estimates, there are around 150-200 thousand people missing from the job market. According to the Cabinet, the labor problems are mainly caused by qualitative rather than quantitative factors. The estimations show that 460,000 people have reintegrated into the workforce due to public employment, one of the most successful policies thus far.
Mixed attitudes towards the Roma population
Ex-Minister of the Prime Minister’s office János Lázár claimed that the Roma minority has not been integrated for 600 years. However, Viktor Orbán stated that “Hungary does not see the Roma community as victims, but as a resource. From our perspective, we should not be ashamed of our Roma compatriots: they are not a helpless minority, eking out an existence on the money of other taxpayers (…). Instead, we talk about Hungarian citizens for whom we can provide a livable future and opportunity here in the land of their birth.”