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The opposition Párbeszéd party will submit a proposal to parliament to scrap amendments to the national curriculum (NAT), which the government published last Friday.

The draft “reflects the [ruling] Fidesz party’s far-right ideology,” Párbeszéd lawmaker Bence Tordai said, and insisted that it was not fit to set directions for public education.

Tordai said in the subjects Hungarian literature and history it is especially apparent that “Fidesz is trying to push through its radical right-wing ultraconservative ideology”.

The lawmaker called on the government to consult professional organisations to create a consensus-based and high quality curriculum.

Meanwhile, Democratic Coalition (DK) deputy group leader Gergely Arató accused state secretary Bence Rétvári of “going beyond the pale” in a dispute concerning NAT by attacking “a professional organisation of high repute”. Arató cited a Facebook entry by Rétvári stating that it was “no surpise” that the association of history teachers had made “hair-raising comments” about the curriculum, “given the support they had received from US financier George Soros for years”. Arató accused Rétvári of presenting the history teachers’ association as “Soros agents”, adding that the government’s attitude towards professional organisations was “shocking and unacceptable”.

Government: opposition do not want to preserve the Europe of nations

The state secretary for public education, Zoltán Maruzsa, said in reaction that the opposition’s criticism was nothing new. “They are against everything that strengthens national identity because they do not want to preserve the Europe of nations. Instead, they want to create a Europe full of migrants, one without identity, with weak nation states and gender [neutral] schools in which students don’t get to have either a national or a gender identity,” he said. “We don’t want this,” he added.

Reacting to criticism over certain authors included in the curriculum, he said Albert Wass already featured in the curriculum drawn up in 2012, and he insisted that József Nyirő — who critics note was a one-time member of the far-right Arrow-Cross Party — had authored several classics of Szekler literature. Imre Kertész novel Fatelessness will be included in the framework curriculum sets out the detailed regulation of the National Core Curriculum, he added.

NAT was amended through lengthy preparation and consultations, and is expected to reduce the drop-out rate, Maruzsa said.

In the featured photo (from left to right) Párbeszés politicians Bence Tordai and Olivio Kocsis-Cake. Photo by Noémi Bruzák/MTI