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Teachers’ strikes continue

December 12th, 2022

As another group of teachers are fired for participating in wildcat strikes, pundits from across the political spectrum ponder the possible outcomes of the teacher’s revolt.

In Heti Világgazdaság, Judit Ágnes Kiss suggests that teachers’ discontent has reached the point of no return after another six teachers were dismissed for participating in strikes. She thinks that the whole educational system requires a complete overhaul. She calls for the revision of the centralized curriculum that leaves teachers little elbow room to adjust their plans to the actual needs of their students. Kiss also considers higher wages necessary to improve the quality of education and make teachers more motivated, noting that teachers currently barely make a living from their salaries. She accuses the government not only of trying to save money at the teachers’ expense, but also of demonstrating its power by disciplining and repressing those who stand up for their rights and in defence of a better education system.

On Mérce, Ferenc Kőszeghy calls on teachers to abandon non-violent methods and use tougher measures to protest against the government. Quoting the ideas of the early 20th century philosopher Walter Benjamin, the alt-left blogger claims that teachers can only succeed if they resort to ‘violent coercion’ and question the government’s monopoly of violence and its right to limit teachers’ right to strike. Kőszeghy writes that illegally striking teachers should force their colleagues to stop teaching and should also ‘disrupt everyday life’ to make Hungarians more aware of the depth of the problems and increase the visibility of the protesters.

In Magyar Nemzet, Ervin Nagy accuses the organizers of teachers’ strikes of collusion with the opposition parties.  The pro-government commentator believes that, because it was unable to challenge the governing parties at recent elections, the Left wants to use the teachers to weaken the government. Their aim, he claims, is that the government would collapse under the mounting challenges resulting from the Ukraine war, galloping inflation, disputes with the EU and internal discontent. Nagy suspects that while the opposition parties want to use teachers for their own political purposes, if they were in power they would be unable to resolve any of the teachers’ problems.

In Magyar Hang, Attila Tibor Nagy fears that everyone in Hungary will be worse off if teachers’ concerns are not remedied. The left-wing analyst deems a complete paradigm shift necessary to improve education. Nagy recommends a more decentralized and better funded system, noting that according to a recent poll, 35 per cent of respondents see underfunding as the main problem of education, while another 30 per cent blame its problems on under-qualified teachers. Unless the quality of education is improved significantly, Hungary will drop behind in global competition, Nagy concludes.

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