Janis Vald, an English teacher from Latvia, has written us a letter about their thoughts on the Hungarian education system. Under the letter, we will also publish the article written by Vald on the topic.
“My name is Janis Vald. I’m an English teacher from Latvia. I’m a member of the local teachers’ trade union.
Recently I’ve met a friend from Hungary. She is a teacher in a church school. She told me about the education system issue in your country. I was completely shocked. It’s unbelievable that in the 21st century in the heart of Europe there is such inhuman injustice. Teachers’ profession always was honorable. More than that, in most cases it was well-paid. I’m just scared for the Hungarian future because even ordinary low-qualified workers earn more. We live in a progressive modern society. Education system workers deserve to get worthy wages. Schools deserve to be well-endowed. All over the world! We must fight for our fundamental rights! We must fight for our future and for the future of our children!
This issue made me conduct news research and write a short article on this topic. I can’t remain silent, it’s against my creed. Maybe it will help to improve the situation. Maybe it will help to be heard in the EU, which supports your country financially.”
You can read the article below without modification:
Nobody would deny that the Hungarian economy experiences hard times. Nowadays Hungary is in state of deep recession. Mainly that’s noticeable as GDP has been decreasing for the third year. COVID-19 has worsened situation dramatically. Every sphere has been damaged. The education system wasn’t an exception.
But even without COVID-19 damage, the education system has suffered for decades! Day by day it’s getting worse and worse. The main reason for this is a lack of money. For many years teachers’ salaries in Hungary were humiliating in comparison with other jobs within state and European countries. The recent European Commission’s report showed that Hungarian school employees earn just 66-75% of the national average wage. Also their starting salaries are the lowest in region (compared to the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia and Romania). In other words, almost every European country has higher incomes in the school system. It’s a really confusing thing, especially noticing that for the last 15 years the national wage has been growing. Everybody except teachers! The government promised to raise salaries. Even more, it had been already promising for 12 years! Suddenly, they realized that they had failed and asked more time. That’s hilarious. However, there is a huge deficit of school workers in Hungary. Surprisingly, isn’t it?
Despite that, one of the Hungarian universities, Semmelweis University, ranked in the world’s top 250 for the first time. That’s a great achievement which demonstrates their willpower, determination, infinite patience, and passion to their profession despite almost the lowest earnings in Europe!
It’s necessary to save the Hungarian teachers literally from hunger. There are a lot of reasons for it. First of all, it is just a totally disrespectful attitude to them. All education system workers around the world deserve better wages at least just because they teach our children and help them to become a new generation on our planet. This new generation must be well-educated to make Hungary a prosperous state again and to end this devastating recession as we are unable to do that. It’s a long-term investment which can’t be ignored. Secondly, the education system development will attract foreign students – it is a great source of money which can be invested not only in the education system and professors’ wages but also in other spheres where there is a lack of money. Positive influence is obvious. Thirdly, it improves the quality of life so Hungary may become more attractive for foreign investors who will financially support different projects. It will significantly influence Hungary. Finally, economic situation depends on public opinion. Salary increase will boost teachers’ and citizens’ confidence in future and it will reduce their level of stress and anxiety. The Education Department is an integral part of state sector, its skeleton staff. Their discontent may lead to strikes and protests which can paralyze the state system. That’s a scenario which nobody wants.
Nevertheless, people are in despair as they don’t have any other options. They are almost ready to go on strike but they even don’t have a right for it! Potential protesters were prohibited to do that because of the war. But their patience may be exhausted. And then, unfortunately, consequences may be unpredictable and devastating.
International community needs to look precisely at the economic situation in Hungary and to help it dealing with growing recession, inflation, unemployment, and, of course, with unfair wages. Particularly, the EU should speed up supplying €700 million this year.
Still Hungary may just hope for happy future – future without poverty, without recession, without humiliating salaries for everyone – future people deserved.