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PM’s Office rejects teachers’ union criticism

Teachers' union PSZ is criticising remarks by the head of the Prime Minister's Office while agreeing with it in the same statement, the Prime Minister's Office said on Friday.

At a press conference on Thursday, Gergely Gulyas dismissed claims of a shortage of teachers, insisting that despite a significant drop in the number of children, no such decline had been seen in the number of teachers over the past decades.

Gulyas also said that the number of teachers resigning had been lower than last year than in previous years which, he said, showed that teachers had not feared “losing earlier benefits” under their newly introduced career model scheme. “Had the MEPs of the left-wing opposition not worked against the interest of teachers … then teachers would be earning a lot more and would be getting far sooner.”

In its response to PSZ’s statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said that the union’s “concern for the prestige of teachers is particularly hypocritical from a trade union that has supported the campaign of leftist parties, and is still in cahoots with them.” Leftist parties are working to “hinder the government’s wage hike for teachers in Brussels”, it told MTI in a statement.

Should PSZ truly care for teachers’ quality of life, they would fight side by side with the government in the EU, for “Brussels to pay its debt to Hungary and Hungarian teachers”, it said. In the largest wage hike in the past 30 years, the government would then raise the average teacher’s wages to 800,000 forints (EUR 2,100) within 15 months, it said. The government has already earmarked 10 billion forints for the scheme, it said.

Regarding Gulyas’s remarks on the education of Roma children, the statement said elementary school districts were always set up to avoid segregation, and the government has launched programmes to help students to catch up. Teachers’ career schemes and the wage hikes tied to are in place to improve the chances of disadvantaged students, the statement said. Teachers working in disadvantaged villages receive a 20 percent wage supplement, it said.

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