Official statement reflects poorly on Public Education Roundtable

March 12, 2016

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The following statement issued by the Ministry for Human Resources (Emmi) on Thursday calls into question the seriousness of the Public Education Roundtable established in February for the purported purpose of fixing Hungary’s broken educational system and heading off a national teachers’ strike reports online daily

The three sittings of the Public Education Roundtable confirms that the only dialogue and mutual work serves the interests of children, teachers and schools.

The common objective of the government and expert organizations participating in the Public Education Roundtable is to enable children to obtain a more competitive knowledge and to improve the work of teachers and school performance.

As was revealed over the course of a discussion on public education, it was clearly the MSZP-SZDSZ government that defunded local governments and teachers through the elimination of the 13th month’s salary.  The government of the politically active middle class since 2010 has restored money to education through state maintenance, the increase in teachers’ salaries, and the developent of schools.  The Public Education Roundtable founded a month ago has yielded numerous results.  The government is listening to every issue raised at the Roundtable, and could find a solution to nearly all of them.  Except for the demand that would result in a new wage increase for teachers and endanger the provision of free textbooks, as well as remove schools from under state maintenance, which cannot be completed.

The government’s point of view is that the previous educational system maintained by local governments failed, as local governments accumulated debts of HUF 1300 billion and closed hundreds of schools, resulting in many thousands of teachers losing their jobs.  For this reason, it is not possible to return to such an educational system.  For this it is necessary to protect the state role in the maintenance of institutions.   In this there was complete agreement among those participating in the Public Education Roundtable of March 8th, as well as in the need to modify the structure of the state institutional maintenance center (KLIK).

In addition to this, the Public Educational Roundtable established a little under a month ago has resulted in the expression of worthwhile opinions and has even made recommendations, the execution of which in part has already begun: we are fixing Klik financing and started settling arrears.  Furthermore, the school directors are getting more authority and we are resolving the questions of employment, but we are also reviewing the system of promotion and the income of non-teacher workers.  We are improving teacher training, restructuring the system of continuing education, reviewing the framework syllabus and the national curriculum as well.