The 2020-21 academic year will be “a year of schools, gyms, swimming pools and major renovation projects”, Miklós Kásler, the human resources minister, said at the central ceremony opening the school year, held this time in Kecskemét, in southeastern Hungary, on Sunday.
Kásler said that school development projects worth a combined 100 billion forints (EUR 280m) were under way, financed from European Union funds and with a 10 billion forint contribution by the Hungarian government.
Kásler said that
families were “a national asset”, and added that 106,000 poor schoolchildren were given free equipment this year, purchased from a government allocation of 765 million forints.
He added that the government had spent 4.6 billion forints on revamp projects during the summer in preparation for the school year and to help prevention efforts against the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier in the day, Kásler told public Kossuth Radio that schools would open in the traditional way but warned that coronavirus-related restrictions must be taken “very seriously”. He said that children must keep a distance one from another, wear face masks and frequently wash their hands.
Kásler said that
classes could be sent home and shift to digital education should one or more children be infected, and added that in the unlikely case that “the infection appears in all classes” the school would be closed down.
Concerning a government plan to give over 10,000 teachers working with disadvantaged children a one-off bonus of 500,000 forints before tax, Kásler said that the recipients would not be required to tender bids to obtain the sum. Any contrary allegations by the opposition are “motivated by a wish to sow discord between teachers”, the minister said.