“Destroying a well functioning school is just as barbarian an act as burning books or what ISIS do with the ancient monuments”. – Parent of student upon learning of plans to close Budapest District 9’s Raoul Wallenberg high school
ATV.hu reported last week that the Raoul Wallenberg Technical High School, the only school to bear the name of the Swedish diplomat whose efforts saved the lives of 100,000 Hungarian Jews, will be closed. The fate of its 1,100 students and 70 teachers has yet to be determined. The building itself is to be given over to the National Civil Service University situated nearby in the Ludovika square. Reportedly the students of “Raoul”, as the locals call it, will be dispersed among six schools. Thousands gathered for the unorthodox, parents meeting to demonstrate against the termination of the school, which specializes in healthcare and social studies.
The school’s director, Mrs. Ágnes Kancsal Gavallér told the parents that “the government decided to re-organize our school.” She said she had invited József Hanesz, president of the KLIK, to address the parents but that he had sent József Halász, head of the education and organization department, in his place.
“As ordered by KLIK, the event is not open to the press” said Mrs. Gavallér. József Halász said that the press office of KLIK made this decision.
“According to a decision made by KLIK, the department of education had to start the preparations for the reorganization” explained Halász. “The decision will be made by the minister by the end of May, therefore the decision has not been made. KLIK ordered only the start of the reorganization” he added. Halász encouraged the audience to make their observations and comments in written form. He added that details were not known at that time.
(Then what was the purpose of the meeting!?. This country is truly unbelievable!-ed.)
According to Halász, the details “can only be elaborated once the decision is made”, but that “the school will not operate in this building from September, 2015”.
Halász could not answer what was to become of the building. However, according to the press information, and according to the parents, the building is needed by the National Civil Service University. One teacher told the correspondent of the Budapest Beacon that she heard from one employee of the university that “we’re moving in.”
The Secretary General of the University also attended, meaning the building will likely become part of the University. József Horváth said it had not yet been decided whether the university would get the building. When asked whether the building was to be given to the University, Horváth answered in the negative.
“There is no impact study, but there is a detailed analysis. Unfortunately, I am not authorized to talk about it” said Halász. He repeated a hundred times that there is no decision as to the move, only a decision to start the reorganization. This is the responsibility of Minister Zoltán Balog, added Horváth only 10 minutes after he said that the school will have to continue operating somewhere else.
Horváth could not explain why the “detailed analysis” had not been made public.
Halász actually could not give proper answers to the questions from the audience. Instead, he repeatedly asked the audience to write down their questions (as though KLIK could not have anticipated any of them! Unbelievable!-ed.)
Members of the audience pointed out that the building was partially built from EU money and Swedish funds, and that neither Brussels nor Stockholm had intended for those funds to be used for the University.
Breaking the law
At one point, the president of the Pedagogy’s Trade Union (PSZ), Mrs. István Galló addressed Horváth. “The letter you have sent says that the government accepted the school closure without legal assigns by March 18th”. She then pointed out that “the tasks of the Raoul Wallenberg Technical High School will be given to the following technical schools” citing the letter written by Halász to Gavallér. According to the president of the PSZ this sentence proves that there is a decision. The opinions of the parties should have been asked before the decision, but it did not happen. Galló told Horváth that KLIK had violated the law of public education by not disclosing the information. She asked the teachers, the students and the parents to request all information regarding the decision in written form.
One student, on the verge of tears, said that she learnt here how to provide artificial respiration. “If I do not have this knowledge, my little brother would not be alive, as I was the one to resuscitate him” she said.
“Let us use the building. But if it is not possible, at least they should let the community stay together. We need a place where we can go together” said Viktoria Gomba, president of the student government.
One parent said that in her opinion “destroying a well functioning school is just as barbarian an act as burning books or what ISIS do with the ancient monuments”.
Someone said that the government want to destroy a school where the members of the Wallenberg family were guests just like the ambassador of Sweden.
At the end Horváth took a more apologetic tone, telling the students and parents that “I did not say I agree with this proposal”.
KLIK issues gag order
He told the director of the school that KLIK had forbidden him and all teachers to speak publicly about the case. When a student asked Halász about its reason Halász said that the press office of KLIK informed him that neither him nor the management and the teachers of the school may grant interviews or speak publicly.
Viktoria Gomba told the Beacon that there is a chance for the teachers and the students to stay together, and even to remain in the building. Gomba did not care to comment whether the teachers and students would ever vote for Fidesz. A number of teachers and students made it clear that they would not.
Postscript: On April 23rd hir24.hu announced that Minister Zoltán Balog had decided that the teachers and students of Raoul Wallenberg could remain together, but that the building would be transferred to the Public Service University as it was already physically part of its campus.