The government has cut HUF 70-80 billion (EUR 246.93-282.20 million) from the education budget since its arrival in power, LMP parliamentary group leader András Schiffer told Parliament on Monday, to applause from Socialist MPs. New student loan scheme Diákhitel 2, which is still under discussion, is an inadequate way of tackling the problem of higher education funding, he said. “You know very well that if every young student in need were to take up the student loan, the budget would not be able to bear the burden.”
Socialist Party president Attila Mesterházy upped the numbers, telling reporters in Debrecen on Tuesday that HUF 186 billion (EUR 656.13 million) had been withdrawn from higher education in the past two years, a first since 1947. State secretary for education Rózsa Hoffmann has denied the accusation, pledging the government will use an additional HUF 1 trillion (EUR 3.52 billion) from European Union subsidies over 2014-2020 to improve higher education, referring to subsidies which have still to be agreed upon at the EU level.
Disaster for IT sector
The government’s decision to reduce the number of state scholarships will “bleed dry” the national software development sector, head of Hungarian association of IT companies IVSZ Tamás Laufer said on Monday. The sector contributes nearly 20 per cent to exports, he said. Reductions in the number of university scholarships in technical, IT and science courses would cause an irreversible disadvantage to Hungarian companies that were already short of professionals. Companies should be involved in the government’s decision and a proper policy for development and export be developed, because the sector has the potential to double its HUF 180 billion (EUR 635.03 million) annual contribution to the national economy in five years, Laufer said.