By Canan Atik
On Wednesday, October 5th (which is the National Day of Education), a big crowd of 40,000 people gathered around the Margaret Bridge for a demonstration to show support for teachers. The demonstration contained mostly high school students and teachers, even some parents, and it slowly went towards the Parliament. The demonstration concluded in front of the Parliament with speeches and concerts. The same morning, some students decided to skip the first two classes and decided to make a chain on the streets as a show of solidarity for their teachers. So, what is going on?
Teachers in Hungary have been fighting for better working conditions for years, unfortunately with no positive outcome. With the shortage of teachers, the remaining ones take on massive work and extra classes with no raise in salary. They decided that if the government did not assist them, they would take matters into their own hands, so they began protesting.
Photo by Hevesi-Szabó Lujza/Telex
Teachers who have been present at said demonstration have been getting fired rapidly, and even students are facing some “punishments” for showing support. The teachers of Karinthy Frigyes High School got a letter and went to the center, but students showed up to show support. Several teachers were fired from the high school later tat day.
As a result of this, some schools have decided to go on a full-day strike. 70% of students at Radnóti high school in Dunakeszi chose not to attend class as part of the “444” strike. 2/3rds of teachers decided to take on the blame at a school, states 24.hu.
This was the consequence of multiple teachers getting fired from Karinthy Frigyes High School. They have been kicking teachers out via letter, which some receive while working at the school and some in their homes. The letter states that the reason they were fired was civil disobedience. One of the latest examples of this is Katalin Törley, who got fired on September 30 after working at the school for 23 years.
Since the start of these events, schools have given teachers breaks. One example of this is the one-week work stoppage that Karinthy Frigyes and Eötvös High School have planned from the start of November 14.
Since October 5th, many demonstrations have been held. A bigger one was on November 18, where thousands of people gathered. The latest and biggest one was on November 26, which had announcements at the end. On December 8th, people are planning the newest human chain, and on December 9th, students are planning a demonstration in support of MTVA, according to Eduline. On January 2, there is a 180-kilometer walk planned from Hermann Ottó High School to Kölcsey Ferenc High School.
Although the government has not really done anything to make matters better, the only update is that the Ministry of the Interior is planning on gathering information from parents who have kids in school about the situation and on their opinions about the educational system in general. People are hoping to give enough feedback to get the government to change things in the world of Hungary’s educational system.
Some people say they can only change the mind of the government with weeks of protests, and some say by not going to school at all. As to what the government plans to do after kicking most of the teachers out and not leaving people to educate the children of the nation, that remains a great question.