A demonstration organised by secondary school students took place in Budapest in front of Parliament on Saturday to protest against an amendment to the law on public education, with a national student strike announced for Sept. 13. All students have been asked to stay home as an expression of their protest against the changes to the law.
Tamás Szűcs, head of the Democratic Trade Union of Teachers (PDSZ), said the government was intent on telling people what to do in every sphere and on holding back those who want to innovate in schools. He said all legal means must be used to protest against the government.
He also called for teachers to be paid for overtime.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International Hungary head Dávid Víg said the government’s idea of a good scientist was one who adapted their research to political goals. The cabinet, he added, did not trust parents, teachers or civil society.
Márton Asbóth, a lawyer for the TASZ human rights organisation, insisted that the government was “deliberately destroying public education”, and called the cabinet an enemy of free-thinking and acting citizens. He said the amendments to the law were “unconstitutional and severely restricted rights”. TASZ, he added, would appeal against the law at the Constitutional Court.
In a call on Facebook to followers, the organisers said they would not remain idle while the government set about “destroying the public education system” and dismantling alternative schools.
Further, they said it was “unacceptable to systematically lower the standard of education” and “to deprive teachers of their freedom”.