The Socialist Party stands with the participants demanding wage raises for teachers and “restoring professionalism and trust” in education in a demonstration at the Herman Ottó Secondary School in Miskolc, in northeast Hungary, co-leader Ágnes Kunhalmi told a press conference streamed on Facebook on Monday. The demonstrators formed a human chain around the school on Monday morning in protest against the firing of its deputy headmaster for participating in an action of civil disobedience organised by teachers last week.
Kunhalmi, who is vice-president of parliament’s cultural committee, told the press conference held in front of the interior ministry in Budapest that Hungarian public education was “over-politicised, with rampant unprofessionalism”. Students drop out in droves and more than 10,000 teachers are missing from the public education system, she said.
While the government spent 5.4% of GDP on education in 2010, that ratio will drop to 3.4% next year, she said, calling for the funding to be raised to 6% of GDP. She also called for wage hikes for teachers, for the autonomy of education to be restored, and for trust to be rekindled between teachers, students, parents and the government. “Prime Minister Viktor Orbán set an example of civil disobedience in the past, when he dismantled the metal barriers [raised against protesters in 2007] in Budapest’s Kossuth Square. But we all know that was a democracy, and this isn’t one,” Kunhalmi said.