University students protest to save courses

Initiatives

Students of the Faculty for Social Sciences at ELTE, Hungaryʼs largest and best-rated university, gathered for a demonstration yesterday in front of the Ministry of Human Capacities in Budapest to protest plans to cut programs that they say would make the faculty untenable.

A recently published draft bill from the ministry would terminate graduate programs for social sciences, communication and international relations, online daily nol.hu reported. A Facebook page created by organizers of the student demonstration said that termination of these programs would mean the Faculty of Social Sciences at ELTE would not be able to survive financially. The students note that all other universities’ social sciences faculties could soon be facing the same fate if the draft bill is approved by Parliament.

Following an April 20 university forum organized by students, who sought to express their disagreement with the ministry’s views, the ministry’s state secretary for higher education promised that the graduate programs of international studies and communication would not be terminated, but that the graduate program for social sciences would, nol.hu said.

Saying they were still dissatisfied, more than one thousand students gathered yesterday in front of the ministry with signs saying “we are the resources of human power” (pictured) and “we fight for education”. 

The students demanded that the ministry:

  •  withdraw the plans to terminate the aforementioned graduate programs;
  •  provide autonomy for higher education;
  •  hire professionals whose expertise is international and EU studies;
  •  let students decide what they want to study and what career they want to pursue for themselves;
  •  provide transparency and case studies behind decisions impacting the faculty;
  •  follow EU trends in education.

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