We protest against amendments to Hungarian public education laws
Statement of civil groups and opposition parties protesting against amendments to Hungarian public education laws submitted on June 11.
This draft law bill further weakens the professional autonomy of kindergartens, schools and the right of self-determination of parents. Among other things, it provides:
- It forces even those children from the age of 4 into kindergarten care whose parents oppose that, meanwhile because of the deterioration in the quality of care – due to the severe shortage of pre-school teachers – flexibility would be more justified.
- By entrusting the decision to a faceless official body, children at the age of 6 may be forced into school despite the professional opinion of the kindergarten who personally knows them.
- It does not create the financial or personal conditions for schools to deal with children with special educational needs, learning disabilities, behavioral disabilities or disadvantaged children who have been forced into private school status and who are not yet in school. For them it was not an optional alternative, so there is a risk that these children will continue to be removed from the institutional system without effective help.
- It prevents parents from setting up high-quality wild schools (learning circles) or educating them in their families in their own home (homeschooling), at their own discretion, thus escaping from the weak/poor state education system. The parent’s right to choose the most appropriate form of education for his child is lost.
- Introducing a mandatory classification (marking system) interferes with the professional work of alternative educational institutions, to which parents consciously registered (entered) their children in order to avoid a traditional grading methodology.
- It requires special curricula for pupils with integration, learning and behavior difficulties, which cannot be achieved because of the existing shortage of professionals and teachers.
- It prevents teachers from using the books they consider to be the most professionally appropriate.
- It provides opportunity for the churches, which are professionally not prepared for this specific task, to take part in course book development and publishing, meanwhile making it impossible for internationally-renowned textbook publishers with a high degree of professional experience to publish. In this way further enhancing the inability of the sector, putting the church education in a better position, even though the majority of church schools trigger educational segregation.
- By the assignment of the heads of institutions, the right of teacher, parent, and student institutions to express their opinion is terminated which leads to the fact that the current authority can place its own people in the chair of an institution without any proof or investigation of professional competence.
- It creates the possibility of the immediate removal of already-commissioned heads of institutions if they become uncomfortable to the authorities even to the smallest extent. For example, simply because of the performance of a non-preferred NGO.
- It creates the opportunity to further increase teachers’ burdens, while teachers are already humanly and professionally overwhelmed.
The new official body which appears in several places in the draft law, operating on the basis of unknown aspects, is another threat to professionalism. A faceless, bureaucratic authority is not able to make the right pedagogical decisions; this would require local knowledge, flexibility, expertise and personality.
Amendments were not preceded by professional consultation, while the amendments affected millions of children, teachers and parents. By submitting an amendment to the law, the government got into a vacuum.
The foundation of good education is the atmosphere of trust; the planned change of law will further destroy this confidence.
We demand the withdrawal of the bill. We demand real, meaningful consultation with all the concerned parties of education – teachers, parents, students, experts – we demand cooperative agreement.
We won’t give up on creating a quality education for our children and we are ready to do so!
Education is our common national cause for our children and for the future of the country; it must definitely supersede party interests.
Supporting civil groups:
- Agóra Oktatási Kerekasztal – Agora Educational Round Table
- Akadémiai Dolgozók Fóruma – Hungarian Academy Staff Forum
- Alapítványi és Magániskolák Egyesülete – Association of Independent Schools
- Amnesty International Magyarország – Amnesty International Hungary
- Civil Közoktatási Platform – Civil Educational Platform
- Cseve Csoport – Cseve Group
- Dunakanyar Oktatási Műhely Alapítvány – Dunakanyar Educational Workshop Foundation
- Demokratikus Nevelésért és Tanulásért Közhasznú Egyesület – Association for Democratic Education and Learning
- Eötvös Károly Közpolitikai Intézet – Eötvös Károly Institute
- Főnix Mozgalom – Főnix Movement
- Független Diákparlament – Independent Student Parliament
- Hálózat a Tanszabadságért – Network for Freedom of Education
- Haver Alapítvány – Haver Foundation
- Hívatlanul Hálózat – Hivatlanul Network
- Igazgyöngy Alapítvány – Real Pearl Foundation
- Kapcsolódó Nevelés Egyesület – Hand in Hand Hungary
- Kárpátok Alapítvány – Magyarország – Carpathian Foundation – Hungary
- Kék Erdő Alapítvány – Blue Forest Foundation
- Közösségépítő Mozgalom – Community Building Movement
- Labrisz Leszbikus Egyesület – Labrisz Lesbian Association
- Magyar Anyák – Hungarian Mothers
- Magyar Pedagógiai Társaság – Hungarian Pedagogical Society
- Magyartanárok Egyesülete – Association of Hungarian Teachers
- Másállapotot a Szülészetben Mozgalom – Movement for Better Childbirth
- Oktatási Vezetők Szakszervezete – Trade Union of Educational Leaders
- OPÁL Tehetséggondozó Alapítvány – OPAL Foundation for Talents
- Ökotárs Alapítvány – Hungarian Environmental Partnership Foundation
- Pedagógusok Demokratikus Szakszervezete – Teachers’ Democratic Trade Union
- Pedagógusok Szakszervezete – Teachers’ Trade Union
- ReSuli – a Megújuló Oktatásért Alapítvány – ReSuli – Foundation for Educational Reform
- Szegényeket Támogató Alap (SZETA) Egri Alapítványa – Fund for Supporting the Pool – Foundation in Eger
- Szikra Tehetséggondozó Egyesület – Szikra Association for Talents
- STEP – Szegedi Tanárok Együttműködési Platformja – Platform of Cooperation for Teachers in Szeged
- Szülői Hang Közösség – Parents’ Voice Community
- Szülői Összefogás Gyermekeink Jövőjéért – Parents’ Cooperation for the Future of our Children
- Tanítanék Mozgalom – Tanítanék Movement
- Tankönyvesek Országos Szövetsége – National Association of Textbook Publishers
- Társaság a Szabadságjogokért – Hungarian Civil Liberties Union
- Tehetséges gyerekek és szüleik – Átütő fejlődésű gyerekek és szüleik – Talented Children and their Parents
- Természetes Élet és Gyermeknevelés Alapítvány – Foundation for Natural Life and Raising Children
- Történelemtanárok Egylete – Association of History Teachers
- Válaszkész Szülők Egyesülete – Association of Parents Prepared for Answers
Supporting Parties and MPs:
- Demokratikus Koalíció – Democratic Coalition
- Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom – Jobbik Movement for a Better Hungary
- Lehet Más a Politika – Politics Can Be Different
- Magyar Szocialista Párt – Hungarian Socialist Party
- Momentum Mozgalom – Momentum Movement
- Párbeszéd – Dialog
- Bősz Anett (független) – Anett Bősz, independent MP
- Szél Bernadett (független) – Bernadett Szél, independent MP