Last week, the names of the ministers of the fifth Orbán government were announced, and from this, it emerged that there will be no separate Ministry of Education. At the end of April, the Democratic Teachers’ Union (PDSZ) emphasized the need for an independent Ministry of Education in an open letter to Viktor Orbán. The PDSZ is now shocked by the fact that education is to be placed under the Ministry of the Interior.
This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute.
According to PDSZ representative Erzsébet Nagy, the decision may have been triggered by the fact that teachers have been regularly confronted by the government lately, which is why they preferred to entrust them to Interior Minister Sándor Pintér, who is used to “ordering the situation around him with orders and other means of law enforcement.”
According to Nagy, militarized public education is definitely not the way to go, and she fears that teachers could face dismissal and transfer bans.
We fear that we, too, will be subjected to a ban on resignations, transfers, and the like (…) We also fear that mass resignations from the public sector and mass resignations in non-public institutions will be made impossible,”
Nagy told mfor.hu.
The representative of the teachers’ union believes that the selection of the Secretary of State for Education will be subject to a counter-election process. Under these circumstances, it is unlikely that any of the profession’s respected professionals would accept such a structure with the Minister of the Interior as their immediate superior.
Teachers have long been in a struggle with the Orbán government for better working conditions and better pay. In the education sector, the pay scale agreed to more than 10 years ago still applies, with a net monthly salary of 207,000 forints for a teacher with a university degree starting out in secondary school education, including various allowances.
But there are also other problems in the education system. As we have reported, the number of teachers teaching subjects in Hungarian schools for which they are not specially qualified has risen sharply in the last four years. Another problem is the shortage of young colleagues. More and more people are retiring from teaching, far outnumbering those entering the profession.
The unions have already announced that they will resume negotiations with the government as soon as the new government is in office, and that they will continue the strike if they are unsuccessful.
Sources: mfor.hu, 24.hu
Featured image via Tamás Vasvári/MTI