“We must see that it is not realistic that one fine morning Olivér Pilz wakes up in Miskolc and realizes that he is extraordinarily dissatisified and starts writing a letter, protesting.” – Viktor Orbán
Thus spoke the Hungarian prime minister at a Fidesz parliamentary fraction meeting in the northern resort town of Lillafüred Wednesday evening, reports Népszabadság.
Those attending the speech were required to deposit their mobile phones in a secure box before entering the hall. Nevertheless, several of those in attendence told the print daily that Viktor Orbán had told them “external forces were behind the current wave of teachers’ strikes”.
The prime minister is reported to have said there was no concrete reason for the demonstration planned for Saturday, especially in light of the fact that teachers’ wages significantly increased from HUF 180,000 in 2011 to between HUF 280,000 and HUF 320,000.
Orbán allegedly told his captive audience that the series of demonstrations in 2014 following a proposal to tax the internet represented a greater threat than the current teachers’ protests. He reportedly said he “wasn’t alarmed” and that the protests had to be handled, for which László Palkovics, the recently appointed undersecretary for education, was maximally capable.
One source told the leftish publication that Orbán did not want to play down the current conflict over public education, and the government was preparing for a similar wave of protests in public healthcare and other areas.
On the subject of last Saturday’s resignation of Palkovics’ predecessor, Judit Bertalan Czunyi, the head of government (who, rumor has it, personally fired her) said he absolved her of all responsibility and claimed he wouldn’t even say that she was fired, having immediately appointed her government commissioner for digital content.
Nevertheless, it was clear to those in attendance that the Klebelsberg Institution Maintenance Center is to be changed “beyond recognition”, according to one source.
“It was not me as one individual, but the entire teachers faculty of Herman Ottó Academic High School that noted the serious problems of education in our letter,” responded Olivér Pilz to the prime minister’s remarks.
“The only thing behind me is the school blackboard,” he added.