In the last minute, Hungary’s teachers received a modest raise

An extraordinary parliamentary session had to be convened because a 2011 law mandating a substantial increase in teachers’ salaries was in need of modification. The law was supposed to take effect on September 1, 2013, so time was in short supply. Yesterday the honorable members conducted an abbreviated version of the usual parliamentary debate and today came the vote. All went smoothly: 257 people voted for it, 34 against it, and 2 abstained. MSZP, LMP, and PM had great reservations but in the end voted for it. DK announced early on that their members would vote against it. One of the abstentions was Zoltán Pokorni, former Fidesz minister of education, who has had a longstanding battle with Rózsa Hoffmann, undersecretary in charge of education in the current Orbán government, over this government’s ideas about education in general.

Why was it necessary to modify the bill? The answer is simple. The original law that was enacted in December 2011 promised a substantial increase in teacher’s salaries. But then came 2012 and the first six months of 2013 and it became obvious that there was no money for it. But some boost in compensation had to be given to the teachers who by and large were Fidesz supporters in 2010. And the next election is not so far away. Thus came the “solution”: 150,000-160,000 teachers will receive 60% of the promised amount. The rest will be handed out in 10% increments until 2017. That, of course, is just another promise; the final decision will depend on the state of the budget. So Dóra Duró (Jobbik) was right when she complained that the extraordinary session was convened not to discuss “the increase in teacher’s  salaries” but rather their decrease.

Mrs. István Galló, leader of the Teachers' Union, Zoltán Balog, and Rózsa Hoffmann, January 2013

Mrs. István Galló, leader of the Teachers’ Union, Zoltán Balog, and Rózsa Hoffmann, January 2013

Moreover, the extra salary will entail more work. Instead of 21-22 hours of teaching a week, teachers will have teach 26 hours after which, whether they have formal obligations or not, they will have to spend an additional six hours inside the school. As Hoffmann said, it is not right that teachers can go home after they are finished teaching. I must say that one doesn’t expect such a stupid remark from someone who was trained as a teacher although admittedly she didn’t spend much time in the job. A teacher must correct tests, essays, and homework which he can certainly do at home. A conscientious teacher must prepare his lectures for the next day or write a study plan. I would say that one can do all this better at home than in the teachers’ room where most of the teachers don’t even have a separate desk. School teachers are not in the same position as university professors who normally have offices where they can work in peace surrounded by their books.

All in all, teachers will have to spend 32 hours a week or almost 6.5 hours a day inside the school building. Until now those who taught more than the base 22 hours got extra pay. This will no longer be the case. Under the new system only those teachers who have “homeroom” duties (osztályfőnök) or who supervise students who live in dormitories attached to the schools will get added compensation.

According to calculations, on average teacher salaries will grow by 34 percent.  There will, however, be significant variations. For instance, a twenty-seven-year-old teacher will get a larger raise than will a 53-year-old who had extra pay because he was also a vice-principal. As one teacher’s union leader said, the new system doesn’t reward more work, more diplomas, or better quality teaching because for none of these will a teacher receive extra remuneration.  Moreover, some teachers will receive even less money than before. According to estimates, there might be as many as 4,000-5,000 such individuals. Yesterday Zoltán Pokorni (Fidesz) tried to remedy this situation by offering an amendment that would have kept some of the extra pay for extra work, but by last night he withdrew his suggestion, most likely because of pressure from party and government officials. At that point Gergely Farkas (Jobbik) turned in the same amendment, which naturally the government majority voted down.

Fidesz used this partial fulfillment of the promised salary increase for teachers as an occasion to boast about its fantastic accomplishments. Antal Rogán, head of the Fidesz parliamentary caucus, touted the sharp rise in real wages in 2013. He claimed that between the second quarter of 2010 and the same period in 2013 real wages grew by 13.1%. He also announced that the salaries of government employees can finally be raised substantially, thanks to the freedom Hungary achieved by paying back early and in full the loan it received from the IMF and the EU. If that hadn’t happened, Rogán claimed, the Hungarian government couldn’t have raised the salaries of doctors and teachers. I think it is unnecessary to point out that this is an outright lie. But, unfortunately, most Fidesz and government propaganda has no basis in reality.

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Nicky
Guest

And something else that I find disturbing: Obligatory ‘after school care’ (napkozi) – and,according to one local paper,this law is to get kids off the street,no hidden agenda,of course!

Petofi1
Guest

“If that hadn’t happened, Rogán claimed, the Hungarian government couldn’t have raised the salaries of doctors and teachers. I think it is unnecessary to point out that this is an outright lie.”

Isn’t there a vital piece of logic missing from Rogan’s explanation: to whit, how, exactly, did paying back IMF allow the government to give those other raises?
Did he mean that it was easier to raise government money by selling 6/7% bonds?
Wow! That’s some achievement.

Can’t the ‘opposition’ find some way to highlight these fallacies to the public?

Ivan
Guest

So, three working days before the new school year, teachers will finally learn what their take-home pay is going to be (so much for economics and home economics!), and will have to juggle their lives at the very last minute over a sudden 50% increase in their time commitments to the school. It’s a wacky way to treat teachers, their families and their students.

Ron
Guest

The costs of education for the students and teachers are going up again.
First the students need sport every day, despite that there were not enough teachers and sport places or horses.
Second Retired policemen must be stationed at various schools to reduce drug usage?
Third Teachers have to stay an additional five hours without pay per week, which normally was paid out.

Questions:
The real wages Rogan mentioned is that net or gross?
How did he come to 13.5%?
What is the actual raise(s) of the salaries, What part of the teachers salary is abolished?
Why is the opening of you school year done in the basilica in Eger without students?

Any body knows the answers.

tappanch
Guest

Pokorni (Fidesz) was present but did not vote. So did quite a few MSzP representatives, including Mesterhazy. Schiffer (LMP), on the other hand did indeed abstained.

http://parlament.hu/internet/plsql/ogy_szav.szav_lap_egy?p_szavdatum=2013.08.27.10:21:37&p_szavkepv=I&p_szavkpvcsop=I&p_ckl=39

tappanch
Guest

… did indeed abstain. [I wish we had a correction button]

tappanch
Guest

State Lottery has given additional gifts to Szazadveg (Fidesz think tank cum pollster).

http://www.vg.hu/vallalatok/ipar/a-szazadvegnek-es-nyerges-csapatanak-adakozott-a-szerencsejatek-zrt-410549

The border between the state budget and the Fidesz party/oligarchs’/individual Fidesznik purses have become completely fuzzy.

Ron
Guest

OT The Forint went again through the 300 barrier, and it seems that it is there to stay.

According to me one of the reasons why is high again is the cut of the interest rate by the MNB, while in the rest of the world it seems to stabilize the interest rate or even go higher.

JGrant
Guest
Eva S. Balogh : Ivan : So, three working days before the new school year, teachers will finally learn what their take-home pay is going to be (so much for economics and home economics!), and will have to juggle their lives at the very last minute over a sudden 50% increase in their time commitments to the school. It’s a wacky way to treat teachers, their families and their students. And this is not the end of it. Lack of textbooks, children who will have to stay in school all day regardless what kind of other commitments they have: private music lessons or privately learning English or German since Hungarian schools don’t provide adequate knowledge of foreign languages. Kindergarten that are compulsory for everyone from age of 3 on regardless when there are not enough kindergartens. It will be lots of fun. Let us be honest! This ‘pupils having to stay all afternoon’ lark is an absolute nonsense and a travesty. First of all I’m sure that the real reason is precisely what one of the commenters said: To keep the youngsters, who in the eyes of the average Fidesznik are all hooligans, off the streets. They obviously completely forgot… Read more »
sebt
Guest
More smoke and mirrors… I hate to give them ideas, but if they operated according to British “standards” of political communication, the government could solve this problem instantly by justifying the lower increase on the grounds that teachers are “lazy and inefficient”. Though perhaps that particular meme doesn’t play so well in Hungary: in Britain it works like a miracle, simply because this “fact” has been drummed into us so thoroughly over the last 25 years that the wheel instantly slots into the well-worn rut. I was amazed again and again this week talking with a friend who works as a teacher in Austria. The way she’s treated and paid is utterly unimaginable in the UK. She had to compete for her job, and she’s expected to work to a very high standard, but hearing about the utter lack of petty, skinflint nastiness from her employer was a revelation. She seems to be simply treated well, paid well and allowed to get on with her job. Particularly interesting was that she gets a 13th (or possibly 14th as well) month’s pay (Weihnachtsgeld and Urlaubsgeld). Now I’m confused, because isn’t it an established fact that only “lazy, good-for-nothing Greeks/Southern Europeans” indulge… Read more »
Ron
Guest

Eva S. Balogh :
OT but interesting. there is an organization called CareerBuilder that found that 1/3 of Hungarian job seekers actually lie about their references. When the person/persons mentioned are called it turns out that they don’t even know the applicant.

Not even that. Years of experience is that 25% of the diploma’s are a fraud, around 75% can not speak/write or read English, despite that they took (according to their CV) an English exam and qualify themselves as fluent in English.

Ron
Guest

OT The rest of the world is thinking about intervening in Syria. If so, i believe the INA interest in Syria will disappear, and so the value of the 50% stake in this firm by MOL. MOL anyhow is the worst performer of all CEE oil companies (Graph at the bottom of below mentioned link)

http://www.portfolio.hu/en/equity/what_will_happen_to_hungary_mol_chief_hernadi_and_croatias_ina_portfoliohu_poll.26534.html

Member

Eva S. Balogh :
OT but interesting. there is an organization called CareerBuilder that found that 1/3 of Hungarian job seekers actually lie about their references. When the person/persons mentioned are called it turns out that they don’t even know the applicant.

I am so surprised…… Do not forget Schmitt gave the best reference he could. Orban backed him up even after they proved that he was cheating left and right. Does it really matter who is one’s reference in Hungary any more?

Member

Eva S. Balogh :
And this is not the end of it. Lack of textbooks, children who will have to stay in school all day regardless what kind of other commitments they have: private music lessons or privately learning English or German since Hungarian schools don’t provide adequate knowledge of foreign languages. Kindergarten that are compulsory for everyone from age of 3 on regardless when there are not enough kindergartens. It will be lots of fun.

Let’s not forget that textbooks in Hungary are not free for elementary and secondary schools. Parents pay big money. THis years’ books are not ready as the book distribution was taken away from the regular suppliers (like the tobacco shops), given to a party friend, officially raised the profit margins, but they did not do the rewriting of books in time. Fidesz decided to rewrite a whole bunch of book with the same speed and same style as HUngary’s constitution in a day or two.

Ron
Guest

Eva with regard to your 2008 article. The following:
Dobokocsca is a game for mathematika training http://www.tulli.hu/szines-korong-es-dobokocka-keszlet-31800
A Hurkapalca is for making things, such as flags, constructions, handy work, in the autumn with chestnuts, etc.

What is not on the list, and most likely asked separately is toilet paper, paper handkerchief, hand wash liquid and other hygienic stuff.

Further people need also to pay for food (breakfast, lunch, in between (uszona), and other activities, such as basketball, football, horse riding, boxing, etc.

Leslie
Guest
I recommend conducting a bit of a media review with Index for the near future. Index, taking into account that it is owned by a serious Fidesz oligarch (Zoltán Spéder) has been in the past pretty critical of Fidesz and its governance, though not so much lately. However, as we get closer to the elections it seems to me, Index is almost trying to ante up the conflicts between MSZP and Bajnai and keep their issues in the news cycle. Of course conflict and controversy mean more traffic to the site, but also they will influence the issue. (Needless to say MSZP people are a big source, they always talk and leak, there is zero discipline and there never will be at MSZP.) The most recent article (http://index.hu/belfold/2013/08/28/nyilt_haboru_johet/) was written by Szabolcs Panyi, formerly of Véleményvezér blog. He moved to Index proper at the time the 444.hu people left Index. Panyi is a self described ‘anti-communist’ conservative, and he and his generation of late 20-somethings simply lough out MSZP, Bajnai, DK and LMP as hopeless losers and goners. (Also younger people like him and especially the bloggers love and expect a strong charisma and toughness from any politician. So if… Read more »
Member
OT: As many of us aware, there have been problems with the taxis in Budapest for years. The price you had to pay for a trip were all over the map. Now comes Fidesz to save the day in Fidesz style. They mandated that all taxis will have the same rate. Sounds good at first. Except there is no flat fee any more to or from the airport!!!!! THe sad part is the comments regarding this. The typical Hungarian attitude (yes, I am generalizing), like “if you can afford to fly, you should afford to take the taxi or take public transport”, “in every European country the tariffs are fixed, what is the problem with it”. THis small issue is the perfect reflection on the Hungarian psyche, the lack of information but full expression of opinion, the jealousy of others, and so forth. At this point when you pre-ordered a taxi from the airport, you know they will be there and they will try to get you to your address fast, and directly. From now on, I bet the foreign tourist will get to know Budapest before they will get to their address. The EUR 20 trip will be triple.… Read more »
Louis Kovach
Guest

“Hungary’s teachers received a modest raise” and “According to calculations, on average teacher salaries will grow by 34 percent” both from Dr Balogh’s above tirade. No further comment needed.

Member

Louis Kovach :
“Hungary’s teachers received a modest raise” and “According to calculations, on average teacher salaries will grow by 34 percent” both from Dr Balogh’s above tirade. No further comment needed.

bahahaha Shows how informed you are. How much was the raise promised? DId everyone received such wage hike or was that an average? DId you know that some teachers actually will receive less? You know the Fidesz style numbers, like the flat tax.. while Orban and his buddies were paying way less taxes, the poor paid often twice as much taxes.
No comment needed Kovach. I hate to say this but you truly need to educate yourself!

kormos
Guest

@Some1….” I hate to say this but you truly need to educate yourself!”
We all educate ourselves daily by reading this blog, not to mention the comments. The fact is that teachers were promised salary increase during the past ten years and now they got some increase.

Ivan
Guest

For a 50% increase in time commitment, many highly qualified (at least to a Masters level) teachers will continue to receive less net pay than the social security levels in other EU states – and this in what is fast becoming, in many ways, one of the more expensive countries. This is not a golden day for teachers. It’s propaganda.

Member

Louis Kovach :
No further comment needed.

Hehe. You wish, Kovach! Unfortunately to you, further comments are needed.

The teachers workload significantly increased. Without tossing them a few chips the Fidesz would have faced a massive teacher strike right at the start of the school year, 8 months from the elections.

Meanwhile on Planet Hungary …

2 news items (same day):

– The world famous Peto Institute is on the on the brink of bankruptcy. Layoffs are imminent.
– The Szombathelyi Haladas soccer club is going to have a new stadium (9 billion HUF).

The Ramses of Felcsút lost his marbles.

petofi
Guest

“The Ramses of Felcsút lost his marbles.”

A hundred years from now, Hungarian gypsies will still sing the praises of their Vajda who ruled the country; made the ‘whites’ pay; and got even for 1000 years of humiliation.

HAJRA MAGYAROK!!!!

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