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Minister fires top school official but defends KLIK

Initiatives

In an act that teachers may deem insufficient to meet their demands, Human Resources Minister Zoltán Balog announced Saturday that State Secretary for Public Education Judit Czunyi Bertalan was fired.

Judit Czunyi Bertalan. (Photo: kormany.hu) 

The announcement seems unlikely to appease teachers, who demonstrated in cities around the country Wednesday and are planning larger demonstrations on Saturday to push for a complete overhaul of the centralized education system.

Despite their demands, Balog rejected calls to dismantle the Klebelsberg Institution Maintenance Center (KLIK), a central body created in 2010 to oversee all education matters in the country. Balog did promise reforms, saying KLIK will go through changes, in acknowledgement of teachers’ complaints that the administrative body is hurting their profession. 

Balog said László Palkovics, who is overseeing higher education in Hungary, will add oversight of general public schools to his duties, and that Czunyi was given a new job, as government commissioner in charge of digital content development, according to reports. 

Opposition parties expressed dissatisfaction with the move and demanded the resignation of Balog himself, hvg.hu wrote. The Democratic Coalition (DK) qualified Czunyi’s departure as “a change of furniture in the brothel”.    

Teachers, joined by parents and students, marched in several cities around the country on Wednesday, saying the KLIK does not give them enough support and actually makes their work harder. They have planned nationwide demonstrations on Saturday, including a rally outside the Parliament building in Budapest.

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