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Union: Teachers’ shortage in Hungary ‘critical’

Hungary's public education has a "critical" shortage of teachers with 16,000 of them missing from the sector, the president of teachers' union PSZ said on Thursday, ahead of the start of the school year.

Over the next five years, a total of 22,000 teachers are expected to be missing from the system overall, Tamas Totyik told a press conference. He said that although the government was familiar with those figures, it kept “speaking in glorifying terms” about how many young Hungarians were preparing to choose teaching as a career.

In PSZ’s estimate, close to 12,000 already retired teachers had been called back to ease the shortages in schools and many schools had chosen to employ people with no appropriate qualifications “to fill the gap”.

Totyik also cited the problem of fewer classes to be held than set in the curriculum due to a lack of qualified staff and financing in addition to the low wages of teachers.

He cited a fresh national survey showing 40 percent of students as being “functionally illiterate”, calling for an “emergency plan to turn around this catastrophic situation”.

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