A very high number of teachers commute between settlements and schools to cover unfilled positions. This system is an emergency solution and is disadvantageous both for the teachers and the institutions.
Teachers play a crucial role in everyone’s life. They spend long hours with our kids, educating them, motivating them, and opening up endless possibilities for the future through education. Unless they are too tired and not able to concentrate, due to travelling long distances between different schools in different cities.
Some of them simply decide to leave the profession and try their luck in something else.
That is, unfortunately, the sad truth in Hungary today. According to the Trade Union of Teachers,
about twelve thousand pedagogues are missing from the Hungarian educational system. If nothing changes in the next four or five years, it can knock out the country’s public education.
It is an everyday phenomenon that a teacher specialised in a particular subject that is only taught once or twice a week has to teach in more than one institution during a day. On many occasions, these schools are not even in the same city or town. These “travelling teachers” work in regions where there is a lack of specialised professionals.
The Klebelsberg Institution maintenance centre, a special ministerial agency, was set up to carry out tasks related to providing education. The centre is the employee of all pedagogical staff in the country. According to their standpoint quoted by hvg.hu,
“not every school needs to have a teacher specialised in certain subjects.”
Smaller schools, where there is only one class in each grade, can come together and jointly give the necessary hours for the full employment of a teacher.
Although the system provides a solution for small schools with fewer students, where the school cannot employ the teacher in a full-time position, it is far from ideal. These travelling teachers can not participate in meetings and be an integrated part of the school’s life. Apart from the fact that they have to run from one place to another, they have to use their own car, and they do not get extra support. Moreover, they are already very much underpaid for the classes they teach, and they are left out of the bonus system, as well.
The system offers a temporary solution, but the lack of twelve thousand teachers should change because this situation can not work forever. Already fewer people decide to choose this profession, many of them quit university, and a high percentage chooses to leave the profession one or two years into working. It will be even more complicated in the near future when a lot of elderly teachers retire.
The re-employment of these retired teachers can not solve the situation. Partly because they have maximum hours per week they can work, partly because they refuse to do so, due to the increased pressure and work.
Vice President of the Trade Union of Teachers Tamás Totyik says that
“the teachers are completely exhausted. The working schedule spent with actual teaching in Hungary is the highest in the European Union.”
We often forget that an educator’s job does not only consist of giving an actual class face-to-face to students. They have to prepare the material, be in contact with the parents, observe students, prepare follow-ups, and do administrational tasks.
In Hungary, an average teacher works 56 hours a week.
Most teachers missing from the system are experts in social sciences, IT, mathematics, and foreign languages. Still, quite a lot of kindergarten teachers and school psychologists would also be needed.
The problem exists in the capital, too, not only in the countryside. The Trade Union says that seven or eight years would be necessary to change it, but with these starting salaries, it is impossible.
A freshly graduated teacher earns around HUF 230 thousand gross (EUR 657 gross).
The salary is one thing, but the amount of work they have to do every week makes the profession very unappealing for anyone with the intention of having their own family one day. The environment of teachers in Hungary is in danger, says atv.hu.
Source: hvg.hu, Facebook.com/pedagogusok.szakszervezete