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Official: Government to scrap central education authority

The central authority that has been administering Hungarian schools since 2013 will be terminated and the education system will be less centralized as of September, Bence Rétvári, state secretary of the Ministry of Human Capacities, said this morning, according to reports. The system was opposed by teachers, who had been threatening to strike on March 30.

State Secretary Bence Rétvári speaks yesterday at the Parliamentʼs plenary session. (Photo: MTI/Tamás Kovács)

In an interview with commercial television channel ATV this morning, the state secretary said that the new regulations would be drafted and accepted during the spring sessions of Parliament in order to set up a totally new system by September. 

Teachers have criticized the central education authority, the Klebelsberg Institution Maintenance Center (KLIK), saying it forced them to teach an unwieldy curriculum, with unnecessary classes and a focus on memorization over analytical thinking. Educators, and textbook publishers, resented the way KLIK would only allow use of a small list of approved textbooks. KLIK was also apparently out of money, and schools were doing without supplies.

The state secretary said in this morningʼs interview that the number of obligatory classes per week for students would be lowered, the national curriculum would be revised, the amount of lexical knowledge to be taught would be decreased and the development of basic skills in primary schools would be strengthened, Hungarian online daily index.hu reported.

Set up by the government in 2013, KLIK was meant to address problems with the Hungarian education system that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and politicians of the ruling Fidesz party said was in a “disastrous” condition when they took over governance in 2010.