We asked Orbán when Hungarian teachers will be given a raise

September 13. 2022. – 11:48 AM



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The 2022/2023 school year in Hungary started with the leaders of the Teachers’ Union (PSZ) holding a press conference dressed in all black – as a sign of them mourning the state of the education system in the country, and the government’s unwillingness to sit down with them for talks.

A statement was read out which listed the problems of the Hungarian public education system, of which the most significant are:

  • teachers’ wages are 60 percent of what other university graduates make
  • the wages of those who assist them, for example the special education teachers, haven’t been raised since 2008
  • thousands of teachers retire each year, and there aren’t enough new teachers
  • one-fifth of the elementary schools have been forced to employ unqualified staff

Due to all of the above, they have been demanding a pay raise, a reduction in their workload and the restoration of their constitutional right to strike – which was made virtually impossible with a government passing a law earlier this year – thus bringing about the civil disobedience movement.

This civil disobedience is still ongoing, and the teachers in dozens of Hungarian schools are protesting this way every day. In most schools, they are doing something to slow down their work, with many choosing a different day each week to simply not teach the first two lessons of the day.

At the same time, the government launched a new, so-called “Border Hunter Unit” to protect Hungary’s southern border (with Serbia) from the illegal immigrants attempting to enter the EU. This unit’s members went through a 160-hour training before assuming their duties, and their starting pay is significantly higher than the pay given to a beginner teacher.

Last weekend, as the Fidesz leadership gathered for their annual picnic, we wanted to find out why the border hunters are getting paid more than the teachers, and when the government plans to act on the teachers’ demands.

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The translation of this article was made possible by our cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation.