In Hungary, high school students at the forefront of the education protest

A hotspot for political demonstrations in Hungary, Kossuth Square, in front of the Budapest Parliament, was packed with people on Wednesday, October 5. According to the organizers, 35,000 people, most of them young high school students, took to the streets to denounce Viktor Orban’s education policy. This was the first major anti-power demonstration since the triumphant re-election of the far-right prime minister on April 3. “Without teachers, there is no future”, “Give Us Our Teachers”chanted these young Hungarians, shocked by the brutal dismissal of several of their teachers, accused of having organized illegal stoppages.

“We are only asking for the right to strike and better working conditions, but for years the only response we have received from this proud power has been threats of dismissal”Katalin Törley, a teacher at a high school in Budapest, launched into the crowd. movement leader ” civil disobedience “ who has been agitating for Hungarian national education in recent months, also expects to be formally sacked any day for having organized slow marches in response to the introduction of a drastic minimum service, which makes any teachers’ strike in Hungary almost invisible. From now on, every high school wildly suspends classes one day a week, a move deemed illegal by authorities.

dismissal procedures

Responding to disobedient teachers with dismissal procedures, on September 30 the authorities set fire to the gunpowder. “These layoffs were a real shock. We want our teachers to be more respected.”explains Dorka Patko, 18, a senior at the Lycée de Mme Torley. Mainly in Budapest, but also present in the streets of the big provincial cities, this youth is concerned about the glaring lack of teachers and has multiplied the slogans against the authoritarianism of Mr. Orban.

The movement of discontent in national education dates back to 2016. The movement initially started from the authoritarian management of establishments and programs. “In some subjects like history and Hungarian, there is too much ideological pressure on the content”so denounce Mme Torley. The mobilization then spread to the issue of wages. Hungarian teachers are among the lowest paid in the entire OECD, according to the organisation’s statistics. “We have teachers who earn 200,000 guilders net [472 euros] per month, which is less than the cleaners in our high schools”, denounced a student on the platform. The government is certain to respond to a part of the concerns in announcing three hausses de salaire de 10% etalées sur trois ans, mais l’galopante inflation, que ateint 15.6% en août, a déjà effacé les effets de la première tranche accordée in January.

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