The new law on teachers’ careers adopted by parliament is different in content from the one that sparked protests, and ensures the viability of the public education system and creates the basis for wage increases, said President of the Republic, Katalin Novák, in a statement.
The Head of State announced that she signed the law adopted by parliament on Thursday and ordered its promulgation. Katalin Novák wrote that the most controversial points of the so-called “status law,” previously submitted for debate and rightly objected to by many, are no longer included in the adopted law or are included with substantive amendments.
“This law is therefore different in substance from the one that triggered the protest.
Therefore, having studied the text of the law on the new career of teachers and having weighed up the legislative intentions behind it, I consider the new law to ensure the viability of the public education system, provides a clear framework, and lays the basis for a pay increase,”
the President emphasized.
She stressed that her position remains unchanged: the key to our future is the kind of adults that today’s students will become, and Hungary needs confident young people with competitive skills and stable values. This requires committed, high-performing, respected teachers and quality education, so it is worth having a real social debate on this in the future.
There are many important tasks that still need to be tackled: in particular, further steps need to be taken to substantially raise teachers’ salaries and to ensure that teachers are respected,”
Novák called on all actors in Hungarian politics and the EU institutions to do their utmost to ensure that the necessary resources are made available as soon as possible to give Hungarian teachers a substantial pay raise.
The issue of teachers’ pay increase has been a burning topic in Hungary for months. Everyone agrees that there is a need for it, and the government intends to provide it from EU funds. However, the problem is that there is a serious dispute between the European Union and Hungary about EU funds, and as a result, Hungary has not yet received the money it is otherwise entitled to. That said, the government did advance a 10 percent pay raise for teachers in January this year, but EU funds are needed to make real progress.
Under the new law
, teachers will be transferred from public servants to public education employees from January 1, 2024, their number of hours will change, and a performance-based salary system will be introduced. The daily working time of teachers is set at eight hours and their teaching time at 24 hours per week.
The grades used in the past have been retained and teachers’ salaries have been set in different ranges. This means that the monthly salary for a trainee teacher is set by government decree, for a category I teacher between HUF 410,000 (EUR 1,088) and HUF 1,065,000 (EUR 2,827); for a category II teacher between HUF 430,000 (EUR 1,141) and HUF 1,135,000 (EUR 3,013); for a master teacher between HUF 520,000 (EUR 1,380) and HUF 1,365,000 (EUR 3,623), and for a research teacher between HUF 640,000 (EUR 1,699) and HUF 1,470, 000 (EUR 3,902).
The government said it had held several consultations on the law with teachers and their unions, as well as with experts and opposition politicians. However, Index reports that many of those interviewed speak of sham consultations and believe that elements were included in the final proposal that were not discussed in the negotiations, or not in the form they were adopted.
While the government believes that the law will benefit teachers, this is not the view of teachers’ unions and those who have participated in teachers’ demonstrations. They say the legislation is inflexible and reduces the attractiveness of the profession. Another problematic point of the law is the possibility of teachers being transferred to other institutions and the fact that employers can access laptops, tablets, and computers used by school staff. On the latter issue, however, Interior Minister Sándor Pintér pointed out that this was the case in all workplaces.
Featured photo via Facebook/Katalin Novák