Teachers’ leader signals strike for end-March – Update
Budapest, March 15 (MTI) – A one-hour teachers’ strike may be held at the end of March unless the government apologises to the profession while at the same time sending a delegation to the talks capable of negotiating, István Pukli, a headmaster who has become the symbolic leader of the teacher protest movement, said, addressing tens of thousands of demonstrators in Kossuth Square on Tuesday.
He set a deadline of March 23 for these conditions to be met.
Pukli insisted that 75 percent of Hungarians supported the demonstration and that 67 percent of ruling Fidesz party voters did. He listed 950 institutions, 70 organisations and 35,000 private individuals as backing the protest alongside an estimated 50,000-80,000 who attended the demonstration.
Another protest organiser said the teachers had 12 demands, among them setting Hungary’s education financing on the same level as the European norm, reducing burdens on both students and teachers and delaying planned changes to school-leaving exams.
Katalin Törley, one of the demonstration’s organisers, said teachers had indicated since 2011 that the education law brought in by the current government was not working and that the state-run body responsible for running schools (Klik) had failed. Teachers, students and parents are suffering, she insisted.
Nóra L Ritok, head of education foundation Igazgyöngy, said one of the jobs of education was to iron out social disparities, whereas the current system was leading to even greater ones.