roma students in school
Photo: MTI/Balázs Attila

Education struggles with many problems in Hungary, mostly because the state under-funds the sector. Furthermore, many administrative matters disturb both parents and teachers. Finally, the new Hungarian National Core Curriculum also provoked much criticism. Meanwhile, there are at least 4,000 unfilled positions in the Hungarian schools.

Last September, Zoltán Maruzsa, secretary of state in the Ministry for Human Capacities, said that thanks to the 700 unfilled positions those who finished their studies as a nursery school teacher can find a job immediately. Miklós Kásler, leader of the ministry, said one month later that there is no labour shortage in the Hungarian education system – mfor.hu reported.

István Nahalka, an education expert, says the opposite in one of his recently published papers. He calculated the extent of labour shortage on the field from the data of the national competence measurement concerning 8th graders. He argues that labour shortage not only concerns all subjects, but it is also steadily rising. For example,

1/3 schools lack teachers of natural sciences, and in 1/4 school there are not Maths, foreign language or IT teacher.

Tamás Szűcs, chairman of the Teachers’ Democratic Trade Union (PDSZ), acknowledges the data mentioned above adding that, according to him, from the 50 billion HUF (150M EUR) of the European Investment Bank labour shortage should be reduced not new school buildings built.

Based on the latest information of the Hungarian Central Statistical Office, there were 4,261 unfilled teacher positions in Hungary in Q3 of 2019. That is 1.6 pc of the vacant jobs in Hungary. Interestingly, it reached 4,000 in Q3 of 2018 and, since then, it could not be reduced. Most of these positions are in kindergartens searching for nursery school teachers. Regional differences are also significant. According to allasod.hu, in Budapest or Fejér county labour shortage is higher while in poorer counties it is lower.

About a future wage increase, the Teachers’ Democratic Trade Union said that even though the government raised the minimum wage, that did not help the sector because salaries in education remained the same. Therefore,

a beginner teacher having a university degree gets a gross salary of 210,600 HUF per month (624 EUR)

which equals the salary of a skilled Hungarian worker. Thus, it is not surprising that two trade unions of the Hungarian teachers would like to organise strikes because of that.

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