Teachers Protest Against Planned Educational Reforms
Tamás Székely 2014.11.24.
Hungarian teachers’ trade unions held a demonstration in Budapest on Saturday to protest against the 2015 budget and the planned reform of public education. Head of the teachers’ trade union (PSZ) Piroska Galló told the protesters that even though November 22 is the day of public education, there is currently no reason to celebrate. If parliament approves the 2015 budget bill in its current form and the changes the PSZ considers detrimental to public education, then the future of children and Hungary will be irrevocably damaged, she added.The trade union submitted a petition to a representative of the state secretary’s office at the end of the demonstration.
The protesters demand that the further transformation of the public education system should be stopped until preliminary impact studies are available and real consultations are held. Also, the government should make public its plans for the transformation of vocational training and the central state agency for managing schools, the Klebelsberg Centre (KLIK), the petition says. After the demonstration, head of the other teachers trade union (PDSZ) László Mendrey called for all trade unions working in public education to join forces. If the government does not take the protest seriously, then a strike will be unavoidable, he added.
Government spending will increase in all levels of education next year including secondary education under the bill on the 2015 central budget, and the government plans no measures that would involve laying off teachers, state secretary of the ministry of human resources Bence Rétvári said in his response. He pointed out that the budget bill earmarks 209 billion HUF for secondary schools next year compared to 196 billion HUF in 2014, while universities and colleges can reckon with additional funding of 7 billion forints. Rétvári said teachers were the first group of professionals whom the government offered a career model including pay rises, which will continue also in 2016 and 2017.”