The Hungarian nursery school system lacks almost 1,000 teachers on the one hand, and there is no second line. On the other hand, Hungarian teachers performed well in an OECD survey showing that they are professionally above the average but rarely use modern teaching techniques probably because most of them are already above 40.

840 open positions

According to, a Hungarian news outlet specialised on education, it is tough to find a nursery school teacher in Hungary today. Attiláné Verba, leader of their trade union, said that, based on estimates,

in 5 years’ time one-third of the kindergarten teachers will retire

or abandon their career and there is no second line in the academies.

Based on the data of Közigállás, a website collecting open positions in the public sector, currently there are 840 unfilled kindergarten teacher positions in Hungary and not only in the rural areas but also in cities and Budapest.

If a colleague retires or changes career, we have to ask our acquaintances whether they are interested in filling the open position. Before, this was not typical” – said Attiláné Verba. Therefore, there are districts in Budapest that

offer extra money for their nursery school teachers

and in most places, kindergarten teachers have to work longer hours.

Mrs Verba added that most of their teachers are already old and most of them retire after working 40 years; however, those who feel the energy and motivation in themselves can continue to work even as pensioners. But, according to her, this cannot be a solution even though it can temporarily ease the labour shortage in the sector. In such cases, pensioners work part-time or in the afternoon shift.

Without a proper wage rise a solution is unimaginable

Of course, many go abroad after receiving their degree or try to find a totally different job where they can get 3-4 times more money – said Mrs Verba. This is not surprising since even nursery school teachers with more than 10 years of experience

get less than 600 EUR per month.

Therefore, some cities try to pay the extra money, give premiums, offer accommodation or even tillable land. However, Mrs Verba says that, even though this helps, it is not a solution for the problem and in the long run it is unimaginable that somebody will remain in the sector because of such factors.

Rumour has it that the government would like to reduce training time for kindergarten teachers to ease their shortage. However, Mrs Verba said that they reject such plans because 18-19-year-old people are very young to work in a position requiring such responsibilities. According to her, the government should sit down and speak with them regarding the problems. Furthermore, she thinks that

without a proper wage rise a real solution is unimaginable 

and the government should reduce the length of the traineeship instead of the training. 

Hungarian teachers are old but professionally very good

According to Magyar Nemzet, a recent OECD survey mapping the pedagogical methods of the teachers in 48 countries found that Hungarian teachers teaching in grades 5-8 feel more prepared, discipline learners less often and make their students practise more than the OECD-average.

However, results show that Hungarian teachers are old,

their average age is 47.6

while the OECD mean is 44. Furthermore, the age pyramid of the teachers is much better in neighbouring countries or in the Czech Republic, too. 79 pc of the Hungarian teachers are female while the OECD average is just 68 pc. Among the leaders of schools, the rate of the genders is more balanced: 63 pc of them are women, which is more than the 47 pc international average.

Professionally, the

Hungarian teachers are above the OECD average

in every estimated factor. They scored the lowest points in using modern technologies in their education and teaching in a multicultural environment. However, they are above the OECD mean even in these two factors.

According to the survey, the Hungarian teachers work 39.1 hours per week, which equals the international average. Their Japanese colleagues work the most extended hours, 55 per week while the Argentinian and Brazilian teachers only 30.

Source:, Magyar Nemzet

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