As we already reported, the state-financed Hungarian education system struggles with many problems. For example, there is an ever-growing shortage of teachers who are overloaded and underpaid. Furthermore, the Hungarian education system does not have good results. For example, according to the results of the 2017 PISA-study, Hungarian students perform poorly in Maths, reading comprehension, natural sciences and cooperative problem-solving. Thus, thousands of students protested for a fairer and more modern education system in January. A teacher spoke (let us call her by the name Z) to Alfahír anonymously about the most important problems of the education system.
According to him, one of the most important problems concerning education is the ageing of teachers.
Wages are incredibly low
which is the main reason why teaching is not attractive to the younger generations. Salaries are even lower if we take into consideration the salary increases in the private sector. Consequently, a beginner stock associate in Aldi receives 272 thousand forints (EUR 882) per month while
a novice teacher gets only 203 thousand forints (EUR 651)
as a starting gross salary.
Not only do they receive low salaries, but they are also overwhelmed with a lot of bureaucratic tasks. Thus, it is not surprising that nobody studies for years to receive less than 120 thousand forints (EUR 385) as a net wage
which is not enough for living.
This results in bleakness because of which most teachers leave their profession and even their country. According to Alfahír, the state of the Hungarian education shows the general situation in Hungary: hopeless future, fleeing and
finally only the old people remain.
According to Z, the government can continuously create new institutions to supervise education, but the fact is that there is not enough money. This is not only visible in the salaries but also in the means of education. Consequently, it happens many times that
teachers have to buy coloured paper, chalk or copy paper for the classes.
Z told that of course, teachers do what they can. For example, they compensate low salaries with private lessons. However, this means that their workdays become incredibly long, so they do not have enough time for their families or regeneration.
Bureaucratic tasks created by the government worsen this situation since teachers do not have enough time to concentrate on teaching. As a result, they become frustrated and overworked which
is followed by burnout in short.
Besides, inspection introduced by the government creates tension in the staff and destroys collegiality. This is because teachers have to rate each other’s work which results in pique and isolation. Moreover, the qualification process by which teachers can advance in their career is very stressful for many. Z told that she had a colleague who
took sedatives because of the pressure.
Furthermore, teachers in Hungary have to write a portfolio to start the qualification process. However,
most of them do not write the truth,
but what the committee was evaluating their work would like to read.
To make matters worse, according to Z, compulsory trainings for teachers are totally meaningless. It happens many times that the tutors read their presentation out loud and the whole training does not have any sense. The only reason why they organise them is to squeeze out as much money as they can – said Z.
Alfahír asked Dóra Dúró (Jobbik), chairwoman of the Hungarian Parliament’s Committee on Education and Culture about the mentioned problems. Dúró said that the first thing would be to establish an independent ministry for education. At present, there is only a secretariat for education, and it is part of the Human Resources Ministry.
She added that Jobbik would reduce the administrative tasks of teachers and they would reorganise teacher training to help them get the knowledge necessary to create a modern, 21st education. She highlighted that they would let teachers work autonomously and she stated that
schools should be free of politics.
She said that it is nonsense that teachers get only 2,200 forints more than the guaranteed minimum wage. According to Jobbik,
teacher salaries should be raised to the average graduate wage.
The party’s PM candidate, Gábor Vona stated in his season-opening speech that the situation in the education is terrible. He stated that “not only teachers but also students protest on the streets.” He added that in case of a modern, 21st-century education we should talk about English, informatics, financial studies, healthy lifestyle, individual success, lifelong learning, cooperativeness and group dynamics instead of subjects.
Photo: Balázs Béli
Source: Alfahír, Daily News Hungary