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Interior ministry: Government submits new education bill

Following consultations with professional organisations and unions, the government will submit a bill on teachers' new career path, including remuneration and legal status, to parliament on Tuesday, the interior ministry said.

The legislation is aimed at “improving the professional and financial appreciation of teachers,” the ministry told MTI in a statement.

While drafting the bill, the government considered the results of online surveys and consultations with teachers and parents. The bill was also published for public consultations in March. Consultations followed with professional organisations, unions and parties with most of the results incorporated in the bill, the ministry said.

At the same time, leftist lawmakers had made “provocative statements and aggressive demands” at consultations held about the bill and follow-up consultations had only been attended by three of the seven parties invited, the statement said.

The ministry said the government was committed to giving teachers a significant payrise. It raised teachers’ wages in advance by 10 percent from January, but will bump them up retroactively “as soon as Hungary receives the European Union funding it is entitled to”. Teachers’ wages may reach 80 percent of the average wage of degree holders by 2025, it said.

According to the bill, “teachers provide public service” by educating children and their legal status is defined as a public education employee.

It includes the introduction of performance-based salaries, a concept supported by the majority of teachers, the ministry said, adding that teachers helping children in catching up, preparing talents for competitions and organising creative classes in addition to the basic curriculum will receive higher wages.

The basic annual leave of teachers will increase from 45 to 50 days and the school year will be allowed to be extended by a maximum of one month, if some unavoidable condition arises during the school year which makes education impossible nationwide.

The rule on obliging a teacher to teach in another institution will be retained, so that it can be applied within the relevant administrative region or in specific life situations, and only with the consent of the teacher.

Under the bill, the supervision of teachers is regulated under the Labour Code. It says that the private life of teachers is inviolable, however, the employer can inspect the education-related contents stored in laptops and tablets provided by the employer.

The bill reinstates the institution of a disciplinary procedure to protect teachers, the ministry said, noting that under current regulations a serious violation of law can only be sanctioned by dismissal.

The bill will be subject to further debates in parliament, the ministry said.

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