Hungary’s Students Rally for Decentralized Education

Veronika Gulyas:

Several Hungarian student, undergraduate and teacher associations and groups joined Saturday to rally against the government’s centralizing education policy.
Some 700-800 people demonstrated on the birthday of Rozsa Hoffmann, state secretary for education.
The demonstrators at the “For a Free Education” spoke against the government’s policies saying the centralized system that was set up last year to handle all school-related matters from personnel to procurement has failed.
“There’s no paper in my school since early December,” Andras Meleg, a high school student, said in his speech at the demonstration in Budapest, in front of the ministry responsible for education.
The government moved schools that were previously under local government management to the central government’s care early last year. It introduced obligatory religion or ethics lessons at schools and a five-time-a-week physical education class countrywide, even in schools where the resources aren’t adequate. The government also nationalized the schoolbook-market and increased teachers’ working hours.