BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hundreds of teachers across Hungary walked out of class for one hour on Wednesday, demanding changes to official policies, including cutting bureaucratic tasks, greater choice in textbooks, more funds for education and reducing students’ mandatory school time.
Demonstrators outside Budapest’s Teleki Blanka Gymnasium formed a human chain around the block, which protest leader and school principal Istvan Pukli said was to “show that we won’t allow this public education system to take our schools apart.”
The government has promised to decentralize the schools’ administration and reduce curriculum contents but wants protesting teachers to join the official forum for debating reforms.
The protesting teachers, however, reject the forum because they consider it full of pro-government groups, and want direct talks with education officials instead.
The early morning walkout was labeled by organizers as an act of civil disobedience because teachers and other public employees have very restricted strike options.