A large crowd of students protested in front of Parliament in Budapest in support of teachers on the first day of the nationwide teacher strike on March 16. Those who gathered chanted slogans like, “It doesn’t matter if left or right, strikes are a fundamental right everywhere.”
Although accurate figures were hard to come by yesterday, advocates expect at least as many teachers to stop working in the next few days as those who took part in the “warning” strike on January 31.
In the afternoon, solidarity events supporting the teacher strike continued in Budapest and in several cities around the country. In front of the building of the Ministry of Human Resources (Emmi), graduating students, student teachers, and experienced teachers all spoke out about the current situation in education.
High school teacher Sára Varga talked about the fact that wages were already very low in 2010, but since then the situation has deteriorated even further, and current salaries can no longer cover even one’s basic needs.
In addition to financial problems, it is also a problem that teachers and students have too many lessons. And although I have ideas about how the curriculum could be modernized, there is no decision-maker who would listen to me.
-said Sára Varga, adding that despite this, her enthusiasm has still not been broken.
Katalin Törley, an activist in the “Tanítanék” Teachers’ Movement, spoke about the fact that more and more people have had to leave the teaching career due to wages that no longer provide a living, not to mention that there are far more colleagues who are already retiring and gradually leaving the profession than there are student teachers to replace them.
As a result, there is a growing shortage of teachers. And just like there is no school without children, there is also none without teachers. It has become a real concern who will be teaching tomorrow.
-stated Katalin Törley.
Between the speeches, protesters chanted slogans well-known by now, such as “Striking is a fundamental right.”