Budapest, August 22 (MTI) – The leftist opposition Democratic Coalition has called for blanket state subsidies for households struggling to afford supplies needed to start the school year.
Sending just a single child back to school can cost up to 40,000 forints (EUR 129), making the start of the school year a big problem for many parents, a MEP of the party said on Monday.
Providing free textbooks to poor children does little to help them if they do not get other supplies for free, Péter Niedermüller told MTI, arguing that textbooks make up just a small part of total school expenses.
He said the government was largely to blame for the “uncertainty” surrounding the new school year. Contrary to the government’s promises, the new school management system replacing the more centralised one managed by Klik will not be ready by the beginning of September. The chief schools manager has admitted that the new system would not be in place until November, Niedermüller added.
The parliamentary group of ruling Fidesz responded by saying that DK leader Ferenc Gyurcsány had done nothing but cut education costs during his premiership. The current government, on the other hand, has increased education spending since 2010 and is doing everything it can to reduce the costs of sending children to school, the party said in a statement.
More than two-thirds of students will receive their textbooks for free this coming school year while textbook prices will continue to fall, Fidesz said. Further, the government will spend 74 billion forints on providing hot meals to poor students, even during school holidays, they added.