School principal: Government ‘has no strategy’ on education


The Hungarian government has no strategy on education and does not know how to solve the current situation, István Pukli, a school principal who has become the symbolic leader of the Hungarian teachersʼ protest movement told Hungarian daily Népszabadság, after the prime minister said Pulkiʼs call for a strike is a “joke”.

István Pukli inside the Teleki Blanka secondary school, where he is principal. (Photo: MTI/Noémi Bruzák)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was asked yesterday whether he would do as demonstrators demanded Tuesday and apologize for his stance on public education. The prime minister reportedly said “I took that [demand] as a joke, it all sounded so funny”. When Népszabadság asked him about the possible strike teachers said they were planning Orbán added, “I am going to work that day”, the daily reported yesterday.

“I think itʼs comical that the prime minister finds my words funny,” Pukli, principal of Teleki Blanka secondary school told the daily when asked about Orbán’s reaction. He insisted that the government is trying to avoid the serious problems that teachers, students and parents are facing by calling them “funny”, only because they have no solutions for these problems. “They might secretly think this is just a nightmare, and when they wake up everything will be fine, but their real awakening will be painful,” Pukli reportedly told Népszabadság.

Massive crowds marched up Andrássy út on Tuesday afternoon in protest of the government’s handling of the issues surrounding education in Hungary and rallied at Kossuth tér, outside the Parliament building, in what the Associated Press said was Hungary’s biggest demonstration since the 2014 protests against a proposed internet tax. While outside the Parliament building, Pukli called for a one-hour strike on March 30 and promised that strikes would become longer until “this government understands that it cannot go against the country”, according to the Associated Press.

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