The civil public education platform representing the teachers’ movement, which calls itself an alternative to the overnment-teacher roundtable on school reform, has initiated talks with the government on its 12-point list of emands. The platform has given the government a two-week deadline to respond to its invitation. Aurél Puskás, the platform’s spokesman, told a press conference after a meeting on Tuesday that the government must respond in one way or another to the

teachers’ demands before the start of the next school year. If the government ignores the invitation to sit down for talks, the Tanítanék (I want to teach) teachers’ movement is prepared to organise further protests beyond the hour-long nationwide civil disobedience protest held on Wednesday morning, he said.
The Tanítanék movement called on teachers and supporters around Hungary to express their dissatisfaction by protesting in front of their respective schools between 8am and 9am on March 30 after the government earlier rejected a call to apologise to “teachers who suffered humiliation over the past six years”.
Hundreds of schools across the country joined the protest, with some creating a human chain around their school, while others organised a garbage collection drive or planted trees in their neighbourhood in the hour. The classes scheduled for that time were cancelled or held later. The decision was up to the head of the local school district. Many participants wore checkered shirts or a checkered rosette, which has become the symbol of the education system protests.
László Miklósi, another spokesman for the platform, said their grouping of civil organisations and trade unions supports the teachers’ movement. Miklósi expressed hope that the movement would “not have to organise any more protests” and said he did not expect its members to be penalised for participating in Wednesday’s demonstration.
The civil public education platform’s demands include reducing academic burdens on pupils, such as cutting the number of physical education classes and eliminating mandatory moral and religious education classes. They have also called for the government to postpone planned changes to the secondary school-leaving exams and to stop all changes planned at the secondary level. A free choice of textbooks and the immediate suspension of the teacher evaluation system, as well as the legal possibility of employing teachers beyond the retirement age, is also among their demands.
In response, the Ministry of Human Resources said the interests of teachers and students would be best served if members of the so-called alternative roundtable joined the government’s education roundtable and engaged in dialogue.
“The organisations that are making new demands and proclaiming walkouts have received repeated invitations to join the government’s official body for professional consultations, but they have spurned every one,” the ministry said ahead of the one-hour protest. “Instead of dialogue and collaboration they are organising political actions similar to Wednesday’s and encouraging teachers towards illegality.”
The ministry said results of the official roundtable were already tangible: it has been agreed to reduce the burden on teachers and children, and the schools manager will be abolished in its current form. Further, head teachers would be given more room for manoeuvre and financing would be improved.

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