According to Lesley Wilson, secretary general of the European University Association, the Hungarian government’s tendency to interfere with higher education should be a wake-up call for citizens.
We have already written about the ban on gender studies that the Hungarian government initiated in August. Also, we have previously shared that foreign papers see worrying tendencies in the Hungarian political life, including The Guardian’s concerns about the breach in Hungarian media freedom and the OSCE’s critical analyses about the elections in April.
Now the secretary general of the European University Association has shared these views about Hungary in an article in The Guardian. The writer expressed how dangerous it is to let the government interfere with higher education matters.
The recent ban on gender studies, allegedly because there are not enough students is in reality part of an ideological battle rather than a practical issue.
The fact that gender studies graduates do find employment can be confirmed by statistics prepared by CEU (Central European University), the university which has been formerly attacked by the Hungarian government. It is also disturbing that due to the „anti-immigration tax” organisations and universities have to stop any activities that are related to migration. Naturally, this applies to research and university courses, as well as to education programs for refugees.
The government’s move to close down certain departments and programs is unsettling because the increased state control over higher education leads to control over the civil society.
Although there have been several examples for such state pressure in Turkey and Russia, nothing even similar to this has happened inside the EU. The European Parliament will examine and vote on the Sargentini report later this month to determine whether Hungary has complied with the values that the EU is laid on.
Besides academic freedom and civil society, the EU partnership of Hungary is at stake.
With the overall reclamation of populism throughout the whole continent, the damage that the Hungarian government makes will have consequences far beyond the country’s reputation. It can lead to a continent-wide tendency that would tear the EU apart.
Featured image: www.ceu.edu
Source: The Guardian