Higher salaries for teachers and requiring at least an intermediate-level foreign language exam for high school graduation were among the plans for eduction policy released by the united opposition coalition at a press conference on Thursday in advance of next year’s elections.
Ágnes Kunhalmi, co-chair of MSZP, emphasized that the future of education is also the country’s future, but modernization in this area has been lagging in the past 12 years. As a result, Hungary has “gone backwards and not forward,” she said.
The average age of teachers and the number of teachers leaving the country are high, and if there is no wage reform, there will soon be no teachers left, claimed Kunhalmi, who promised that a new government formed from the opposition coalition would provide teachers with a large one-off raise, followed by gradual pay adjustments and fair benefits.
Teacher pay is currently only 61% of the average salary earned by college graduates, which shows that the Orbán cabinet has not addressed the teacher situation in the past 12 years, said Endre Tóth, Momentum’s education expert. This cannot be allowed to continue, he added.
Koloman Brenner from Jobbik also spoke at the event, who promised to improve the quality of education and restore its autonomy. Brenner said that the opposition’s goals were to make education compulsory for students until the age of 18 and to require at least an intermediate level foreign language exam for graduating high school.
Opposition parties would also take back Hungarian universities from the control of Fidesz-run advisory boards and return the vast majority of universities to state control after they form a new government. In addition, they would also ensure that Hungarians can obtain their first university degree free of charge, which could also apply to master’s and doctoral programs “under certain conditions.”
One of the key promises made at the press conference was to reform the National Core Curriculum and provide a perspective shift in the way that a future Márki-Zay government will deal with teachers.
Instead of a dry and unacceptable amount of educational material that students have to absorb, Kunhalmi promised to strengthen teamwork and critical thinking in schools, as well as remove excessive administrative burdens from teachers and give them the freedom to choose textbooks.
We consider teachers to be free-thinking intellectual workers, not bureaucrats.
-said Endre Tóth of Momentum, who also stated that they would focus on strengthening students’ financial and digital skills. On the latter point, Tóth said that students would receive a free tablet computer, noting that children’s learning should not be determined by their parents’ financial situation.
[Magyar Hang][Photo: Magyar Socialista Párt / Facebook]