School graduation exams will go ahead but the dates they are taken may be changed if the state of the epidemic justifies doing so, a government education official has said. State secretary of public education Zoltán Maruzsa said in a video message that organising exams amid the flux of the epidemic presented serious challenges to everyone, including students, teachers, parents and administrators, but success was contingent on working together. A way has been found to hold the exams in the safest way possible, he said, adding that they will be confined to written tests and everyone will be provided with protective gear. “If epidemiological factors justify moving the date, the relevant decision will be made,” Maruzsa said.
Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony said in a Facebook video message late on Monday that public transport in Budapest will operate at full capacity during the exams. The mayor said he had instructed the Budapest Transport Centre (BKK) to assess where and when would greater demand for public transport services be expected during the exams. He said it remained however a question why the government had decided to arrange for the school-leaving exams to begin on May 4, if the prime minister was expecting the coronavirus epidemic to peak at around that time.
Meanwhile, a recent survey by Századvég found that 80% of Hungarians say the written school-leaving exams should be held at the usual time in early May, with strict security restrictions. The pollster told MTI that 85% of right-leaning respondents had the same opinion, while that ratio was 77% among both centrist and leftist respondents. The report noted that the rectors of Hungarian universities had expressed support for going ahead with the tests, saying that the examinations could “yield more objective results than marks composed of grades earned in previous years”. They also added that the final exam in most cases serves as a university entrance exam.
The opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) has launched an online petition for the postponement of the exams, party leader Ferenc Gyurcsány said on his Facebook page, calling it a “mad decision” to hold the exams at “the peak of the epidemic”.