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Thousands of teachers protest education reforms in Hungary

4 February 2016 9:50


Thousands of teachers have taken to the streets across Hungary, including in the capital, to protests educational reforms that they consider as being aimed at an authoritarian control of education.

On Wednesday, some 5,000 Hungarian teachers rallied in the northeastern city of Miskolc to protest the government’s education reforms, which include a centralized regulation of all aspects of education, including the curriculum.

Teachers say the new educational material, including history textbooks, have a highly conservative view and include factual errors, too.

“I want to talk with the children and educate them, not just teach them,” said a history teacher in the city of Tiszaujvaros, Northern Hungary. “Students, parents and teachers… experience the same oppression every day. The future of our children and of Hungary is at risk.”

The teachers also demanded better working conditions during the Wednesday rally.

Smaller demonstrations also took place simultaneously in ten cities around the country, including in the capital, Budapest.

In reaction to the Wednesday rallies, education authorities in Hungary pledged to resolve the issues and address the protesters’ concern. The move, however, is seen as an attempt at preventing further and more far-reaching rallies.

“There is potential for this protest to become the starting point of more rallies,” said Csaba Toth, an analyst and director of Republikon Institute in Budapest.

Another protest is scheduled to be held at the parliament building by one of Hungary’s largest teacher trade unions on February 13.

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