Education reform: A plan to keep the population vulnerable and poor

With all the chatter and protest around the Internet tax (the implementation of which has been merely postponed until 2015), little attention has been given to the Orbán government’s rather insidious plans to “reform” the country’s education system. Fortunately, Népszabadság – the country’s most widely-read daily newspaper of record – published an analysis of what is likely in store for Hungary’s secondary schools. In short: the government has set a plan in motion that will cut the number of students admitted to high school by 50%. In 2014, 128,000 students are enrolled in Hungary’s secondary schools, but if the Orbán government’s plans move ahead, this will be reduced to as low as 60,000.

Education specialist János Szüdi told Népszabadság that the nationalization and centralization of the school system in Hungary had as its primary goal the radical reduction of the number of students admitted to high school.

The serf's duties. Feudal England, circa 1310.

The serf’s duties. Feudal England, circa 1310.

So where will the tens of thousands of Hungarian teenagers not admitted to secondary school end up? Some will undoubtedly terminate their education after completing Grade 8 and toil as unskilled labour, or work for next to nothing on public works projects. But the government’s rationale is to push a growing number of young Hungarians into technical and trade schools. They can become plumbers, line cooks, hair dressers, electricians, etc. While readers from Canada or the United States might be inclined to note that this isn’t really all that bad, as electricians and plumbers tend to earn good money and there is certainly a demand for them, the situation in Hungary is quite different.

A Hungarian with only a Grade 8 education earns an average of 125,000 forints per month (approx. $575 CDN). Skilled labourers earned an average of 167,000 forints (approx. $765 CDN) per month, while those who completed secondary school, but did not go on to college or university, earned  227,000 forints (approx. $1,050 CDN) before taxes.

By eliminating the possibility of earning a high school diploma (and the future option of obtaining a post-secondary education), the government is effectively condemning tens of thousands of young Hungarians to poverty. It also denies them the possibility of climbing the social ladder.

University may not be the ideal path for everyone, but completing  high school, as a minimum, certainly is. Not uncommon with other authoritarian and oligarchic regimes, the Fidesz-KDNP government is satisfied with creating a passive, oppressed, non-ambitious and uneducated population base.

And this is far more dangerous as a development and as government policy than the Internet tax.


  1. Amen! Here comes the Brain Curtain.
    In Hungary they will pull down the blinds on the children’s brains.

  2. The lunatic Hungarian PM himself said few weeks ago, that families have to quit the idea of sending their children to college, they should get used to the idea of kids having some sort of trade. And you are right noting that this means poverty in most cases, in Hungary. On the level of society, it condemns the country to a permanent servant status in the EU and the world. As a country with no resources other than its brainpower (in which Hungary excelled through centuries), this is a crime against the nation. Instead of laboratories and world class research institutions, Hungary will remain an assembly line for German cars.

  3. Quousque tandem abutere, Orban, patientia nostra?

  4. Orban knows how to dominate, and dominate he must !!!

    He has also substantially reduced funding for educational opportunities in the legal profession thereby narrowing effective opposition in the future. He has installed himself for the long haul.

    Orban has seen in practice how easy it is to maneuver a population that has not been raised on Western (advanced) concepts of cooperative and global thinking. This is not high-minded mumbo-jumbo. Education and quality socialization is the premise on which our Western civilisztion has been advanced.

    Enemies of Western logic and operational modes are systems that espouse ancient, non-evolved concepts.

    Example is how O. publicly treads on everything evolutionary and Western here locally while sending his daughter to graduate student status at the College for Hoteliers in Switzerland, a profession designed to cater to the wealthy, while making sure that there will be sufficient low-level staff available to man the manual labor needed to maintain the infrasturcture in Hungary.

    Little does he realize that without appropriate socialization and education the infrastructural services canot compete with better socialized staff availble in more evolved international systems for a simple example, the Hotel infrasturcture.

    It is by no means that Orban does not wish to look into the face the future holds for Hungary. It is that from his perspective from upon high, the logic of others being educated is seen as competition to the power of his own clan.

  5. He learns from his much admired master.

    “He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future. — Adolf Hitler”

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