Growing segregation of Roma children in Hungary

The problem of ethnic segregation in eastern Hungary’s schools appears to be deepening, despite past attempts on the part of some local administrations to ensure that Roma and non-Roma children studied together. For instance, as reports, twelve years ago when the town of Nagyecsed (population: 6,327), in northeastern Hungary, tried to create mixed classrooms of both Roma and non-Roma students, many non-Roma parents responded by withdrawing their children and enrolling them instead in the neighbouring village’s school. The Roma population in Nagyecsed exceeds 16%.

Most non-Roma children from Nagyecsed went to school in the village of Tiborszállás (population: 1023), located just 12 kilometres from their home. Under the Orbán government, churches began to play a more significant role in public education and as part of this trend, municipal authorities in Tiborszállás handed over the school to the Adventist Church, while in neighbouring Nagyecsed, the local school handed over part of its building to the Calvinists, who would run a separate Protestant school in that space from grades one through eight. The Calvinist school instituted specific enrollment practices that Roma children would not likely be able to meet and the end result was that the original public school in Nagyecsed became almost entirely Roma in its student population, while the area’s two Protestant schools were almost completely non-Roma.

In 2016, an estimated 14% of Hungary’s schools were segregated along ethnic (Roma and non-Roma) lines. The trend towards greater segregation has been growing.  Unfortunately, this also perpetuates a vicious cycle of poverty and marginalization, as schools where the student population is mostly Roma tend to be housed in poorly maintained buildings, teachers have far fewer educational resources at their disposal and the curriculum disadvantages their students.


Researchers believe that the Orbán government’s policies in the field of education are responsible for growing segregation and point to a handful of factors in particular. These include the government’s decision to no longer require students to stay in school until 18 years of age, they cancelled programs aimed at better integration of students from different backgrounds, the government took away greater choice in the use of textbooks, requiring a one-size-fits-all approach and a centralized manner of distributing textbooks and setting curriculum. As well, teachers are required to complete much more administrative work than before, leaving less time for pedagogy. Additionally, the cost that parents must pay to send their children to school has increased, due to cutbacks on school funding.

Critically, the transfer of many public schools to churches, and the preferential public funding of church schools over non-religious state schools during the past several years has also resulted in greater segregation.  The number of schools in Hungary run by churches increased by 68% since Viktor Orbán returned to power in 2010.

Some parochial schools have been permitted to engage in explicit segregation, under the guise that this would improve the school’s overall quality. For instance, the Green Catholic Church took over the responsibility for the administration of a school in a poor suburb of the town of Nyíregyháza (population: 118,000) called Huszártelep. Prior to 2010, the school in Huszártelep had been closed and children were bused in to town, so as to decrease ethnic segregation. Many non-Roma families complained to the municipality, citing the inability of Roma children to properly integrate and problems around co-existence in the classroom between the Roma and non-Roma. As such, in 2010, the segregated Huszártelep school was re-opened and the Greek Catholic Church launched a new school as a form of pastoral outreach to the Roma. In the end, many Roma parents supported the idea of once again sending their children to this segregated school, and one of the reasons for this was that their children had been mocked and denigrated in the non-Roma school, and also because the fees paid by parents was lower in the segregated school.

All signs indicate that in the last eight years, Hungary has moved towards greater ethnic segregation in schools. In a country with a growing Roma population and a severe shortage of skilled and educated labour in many fields, the storm clouds are gathering.



  1. Avatar Bendeguz79 says:

    But there was NO segrigation of the so called “Roma” children during the Horthy regime. Only by religion, as the Catholics and protestants had their own schools. And they try to call this today “progress” in Hungary. Do they blame it on half-century of socialism, or on the present day liberalism ?

    • Does it bother you that you don’t know what you are talking about? Or do you just like to hear your own voice?

  2. What’s wrong with separate schools? Is access to white people a human right?

  3. Avatar Bendeguz79 says:


    You accuse me of something that you have absolutely no idea of what you are alleging. That’s evidence only of your ignorance and rudeness.

    I was a school boy during that Horthy regime, all the gypsy students were treated equal in class. They were well behaved and respectful of the institution and all classmates. Have never in all those school-years of my life have I ever wittnessed prejudice nor discrimination of them or any other group.

    Not until your beloved bloody-commerades confiscated the school-system and everything else. Beside ruining the entire country. Your “socdem” ideas only poisoned the entire society. Now you are not happy of what you have accomplished. You have to reap what you have sown !
    Stop bitching and start enjoying it !You have created it all !

  4. Avatar Bendeguz79 says:


    Just what’s wrong with basic human rights ? Are they not all Hungarian children? And whatever else you might label them.

    ” We hold these Trueths to be self-evidence, that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,
    Among those are; Life,Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these Right, governments are instituted among men, with the consent of the governed,that whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these Ends,it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government laying its foundation on such Principles and organizing its Powers as it most like seem to affect their safety and happiness.”

    Just what might make you assume that not all humans are entitled to that ?

    • Oh, is this an article about America? I thought we were talking about Hungary here. Don’t quote me from the declaration of independence as it is neither relevant for this article nor even for America (the founders obviously didn’t believe in equality since they themselves had slaves and only allowed whites to become citizens, not to mention equality being a completely ridiculous concept as no two people are equal)

      In regards to your question, no they are not “all Hungarian” there are Hungarians and there are gypsies, those are two different peoples.

      Again how is it a human right to have access to whites?

    • “Are they not all Hungarian children”

      If they are, then how are you able to separate them into Roma and Non-Roma?

      They’re clearly different, so why do you think access to white hungarians by roma is a ‘right?’

      A rather pathetic attempt at deflection.

      As someone who has witnessed the same things in America, mostly with non-whites and whites, I find it pathetic. The schools are bad because the students are bad, and whites flee non-white schools because the non-whites in them behave and act nothing like the whites.

      These are facts. Scream racist all you want, you can’t force whites to send their kids to certain schools, and you have no right to.

  5. The counter-argument to the integration argument through desegregation is that mixing in “rotten apples” may spoil the entire bunch. There is no evidence in my view that this would be net beneficial to society by producing net superior collective results in education. In fact, the opposite could happen as general good working order in classrooms has been known to be disturbed by the introduction of less docile elements, to the detriment of all students.

    Aside from that, the issue of Rroma integration is in my view very important to Hungary’s future, given that this minority has a superior birth rate compared with rest of population. And author correctly points out that they could be a valuable addition to Hungary’s labor needs, among other things. Thing is however that there is to date no success story in the region in this regard that can be emulated. In fact, based on what I have seen, Hungary is in fact doing better in integrating its Rroma minority in the economy compared with regional peers. We should keep in mind that to this culture and its people we are all “Gadje”, not to be integrated into, but rather always keep to our periphery as a natural adaptation in relation with the rest of us.

    • So instead of boosting our own birthrate, we should become India? No thanks.

      • Actually, if ever Hungary could get the Roma to integrate into the workforce and normal mainstream life, I think their birth rates would normalize to the level of the majority population. But as I pointed out integration perhaps not so easy to do.

        • They haven’t integrated in the hundreds of years they’ve lived in Europe and they won’t start now. The fact that some policy is required to even attempt to integrate them instead of them integrating on their own speaks volumes. Did the Germans, Austrians, Poles, and Italians or any other European have trouble integrating into Hungarian society in the past? No they are all indistinguishable from Hungarians today. Gypsies are not Europeans and they have completely different genetics and thus will not integrate, nor should we want them to. They should remain unique and so should we as Europeans.

          • Have to disagree with you in regards to genetic argument. Irish Tinkers are genetically Europeans, but have similar issues in regards to integration.

            But as far as integration, I agree that it is a monumental task, but perhaps not impossible. Leftist ideas on integration clearly not the way. Perhaps a well-thought out set of policy mechanisms meant to encourage education, work, participation in the legal economy, while giving them claim to still remaining in many ways distinct and on the periphery of society in some ways, which is what they wish to do.

        • Don’t know much about the Irish Tinkers, but if they are indeed genetically European, then all it would take for them to integrate is cultural change. Just like we can say that the Amish don’t integrate, but if they were raised in the mainstream culture, then it would not be a problem. This isn’t the case with gypsies, blacks etc. The greater the genetic distance, the harder the integration becomes.
          In any case, how does it benefit us to integrate them? We are two distinct groups, what’s unique about each should be preserved, not destroyed with mixing. I much prefer the gypsies with their caravans, leading their own destiny, rather than trying to force them to become Europeans.

          • I am not suggesting mixing, but mutually beneficial coexistence. They are part of Hungary like it or not, so might as well make the best of it. They can still do their thing and the majority population do its thing, but whatever their thing to do will evolve into should be channeled towards more beneficial activities, whatever that may be. For instance, gypsy bands providing entertainment in Budapest restaurants frequented by tourists is far more beneficial to society than criminal bands engaging in illegal activities. Gypsy fortune teller guessing the future of some gullible tourists is much more beneficial than stealing their wallets. And if the fortune teller’s son or daughter wants to be an engineer or doctor, society should make it a possibility for them, as long as they are willing to put in the necessary work and have the aptitude for it. Same goes if they may wish to become mechanics, machine operators, electricians or whatever. To make these activities more desirable, some steps were taken already by introducing the work programs of the current government. I figure at some point people will figure out that since they have to increasingly work anyway, they might as well start finding ways to earn more while doing it. And once kids grow up in households where work culture is in place, they will adopt the same. It might take many generations, but it can be done.

        • “It might take generations, but it can be done” That’s where I disagree. How long has the US government tried to integrate blacks? How long have gypsies live in Europe and not a single country where they are able to function as Europeans, simply because they aren’t Europeans. Sure we can try to channel them towards more productive activities than their natural inclinations, but the fact is, whites don’t want to live around them, and they are guests in OUR lands. We should not be forced to associate with them.

  6. @ szocdem89

    The bendy goose is not bothered by anything except facts. As for his sidekick from the alt-right, he’s just happy to vent his segregationist views. They’re happy to come here, under false names, to document their shortcomings.

    • Have any actual points to make? Or just ad hominem attacks?

      • Sorry, you are not up to speed here AltJobb. He is an intellectual and his intellectual superiority is self-evident. He does not have to actually engage in debate and defend his ideas. You are automatically wrong, because he is the great Andras B. Gollner.

        • Yes I figured. Except I don’t find liberal feelings to be very intellectual. They are high on their own supply of self righteousness.

  7. Avatar Sandor Hunt says:

    Fake News alert! I think always had back in the days, some distance between the different class of people, but nowadays, I think much better if we looking at some of those couples who married to a non-Hungarian people. Today many young Hungarian more open minded then 10 years ago, I think.
    Real question is, Why the Hungarian Free Press Come up with this Question now? Why they say get worse. When actually I think is getting better. Just look at Joci Papa The whole county was proud of them, including me!

    • In what way is being “open minded” to mixing a good thing? Don’t accept the left’s premise. There is nothing wrong with wanting to preserve your own people. Not to mention race mixing will only create a confused individual with a no identity and no roots, which is exactly what the globalists want.

  8. Avatar Bendeguz79 says:

    You all try something, or anything just to have a chance to advance you prejudice.

    Yes, the Roma has a high birthrate. May be they plan forward to overcome the nome- gypsies. Hm ?

    Than you’d start crying “prejudice”. Hm ???

    • That’s exactly what we’re trying to prevent. You don’t try to prevent it by giving up and saying “let’s be nice to them so that when they are the majority, hopefully they won’t kill us.” No, you prevent it by fixing the white birthrate and reinforcing that Hungary is for Hungarians (White Europeans) and anyone else who is residing there is merely a guest.

      • Avatar Hungarian Free Press says:

        Altjobb, if you are one of those pure white Hungarians, I would recommend that you challenge yourself to take one of many DNA tests available online, such as through Ancestry…because methinks that a great many of your “racially pure” Hungarians would be rather surprised to discover the results. Due to geography and the fact that Hungary served historically as a corridor between east and west, many Hungarians have mixed with non-European peoples.

        • Already taken one. 99.8% white thank you very much. Most whites do not mix with non-whites. Some have Ashkenazi admixture. Very few mix with gypsies and other non-whites. Being a corridor between East and West? Both East and West of us are Europeans. The only non Europeans here were the Gypsies, Turks and Jews, and very little mixing occurred, especially with the Gypsies and Turks. In any case, you don’t have to take a DNA test to see where your loyalties lie. Anyone advocating for mixing or multiculturalism is more likely to be mixed or otherwise non-white because they want to feel included so they wish to bring in more rootless people like themselves.

          • How do you feel about the 0.2 percent of you that’s non-white? Where did Hungarians come from before the honfoglalás?

  9. Avatar Bendeguz79 says:

    No AltJobb, we are talking about basic human rights !
    And the human family !
    Regardless of any individuals’ shortcomings.
    That is the actual and the basic subject.
    Just what species do you claim you are ,as you feel so superior ?

  10. The problem is clearly the welfare. People of certain cultural background, regardless of ethnicity (although more ethnic Roma belong to this group than other ethnic groups, say the Saubian German people for example), are content to live off the measly welfare aids as long as they are given it. That is what keeps these people and their children from studying, working, being productive and wanting to rise from the garbage they live in. We should stop giving out aid from taxpayers money and reduce taxes in Hungary, period. That will result in economical growth and everyone will be better off. The rich will be much richer but the poor will be doing somewhat better as well and there will be possibilities to rise up for whoever has courage and will and a bit of luck. Leave charity to the churches and the ngos. It isn’t the governments job, plus they evidently suck at it.

  11. Pingback: Hungary: Segregation -

  12. Integration is a two-way street, but as many comments on here show, many Hungarians are uncertain about whether they want the Roma population to be integrated into Hungary or to have some kind of separate existence (apartheid?).
    I know in my local village a few years ago hvg reported that Roma children had not been allowed into the new swimming pool at the state school because of “fear of infections”. If integration is seen as desirable, the only possible way of achieving this is long-term and through the education system. The present system of funding religion-based schools to a much greater extent than state-run schools contributes to segregation rather than integration…

  13. Avatar Bendeguz79 says:


    Just why do you attempt to change the subject here?

    It is the question of equal right of all citizens of Hungary.
    Forget religion, origin, race, or anything else.
    The basic question is, WHY citizens/residents of that country are not guaranteed equal right for all.

    Especially when the use and benefit of tax-payers funded public facility and services are the subject.

  14. Avatar pantanifan says:


    How are the Roma expected to integrate into a society that often does not want them to integrate? Would you want to join a club that tries to exclude you?

  15. Avatar Reality Check says:

    The normalization of the bigotted alt right is in full gear at the Hungarian Free Press. Your comment section has become a sewer.

  16. @ Reality check

    I think you are right. I suggest coming down here in a rubber suit, and not getting into any kind of close contact with the solid waste. Short, poignant comments in defense justice, truth, civil liberties are always welcome, along with a curt dismissal of the polluters. We need more of the latter. Your comment is therefore appreciated by this sewer rat.

  17. panatifan;

    IF you have the right to force the roma to “integrate”, do not the roma has the same right, but not to “integrate” ?

    Just how and why all citizens do not have the same rights ?
    How and why you, or any one could have special right, or prevelages?
    What would make you , or any one special ?
    Are you member of a “super race” ?

  18. bendeguz:

    yes the roma have the same right, hence my earlier comment (the one in which you said i was changing the subject): “Integration is a two-way street”.
    not sure i understand the second part of your post, what makes you think i’m asking for special privileges, or that i think i’m part of a “super race”?

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