Index – Hungary – János Setényi: Teachers cannot be regulated like workers

According to a competency survey, the decline in children’s performance in the education system was minimal even during the pandemic period.

There was a crisis in the first months after school closures, with 20 to 23 per cent of children disappearing from the scheme in the first few weeks, depending on the school and district. These are the kids who go to school solely because there is compulsory schooling, but if they don’t have to, they obviously wouldn’t. These children were reintegrated by school principals and educators with hard work essentially within a month.

– emphasized János Setényi, director of the Learning Research Institute of the Mathias Corvinus Collegium.

And in 2019, children produced the best results of the last 12 years.

This result is due to the fact that a significant amount of families earn a regular monthly income and long-term unemployment is eliminated by work, and the lumpen lifestyle in Hungary is dramatically reduced. The children get breakfast at home and the parents get up with them in the morning. Strong improvements in living conditions always boost children’s school performance.

Said the expert.

János Setényi

János Setényi said about the situation of teachers and educational policy measures, teachers are the largest occupational group in Hungary.

It is 120,000 people and is a very big headache for any government because of the fact that they work in an opaque number of places, which is difficult to see. In addition, they consider themselves intellectuals. Which means they can’t be regulated the way workers can be regulated. They consider themselves intellectuals, and if they are not allowed to work in creative work, these are the people, at least the part that really leaves such an intellectual, internally motivated professional.

– said János Setényi, adding that education is a very expensive system, as he put it: “it is essentially unsatisfactory, it is like health care”.

According to the researcher, the position of teachers is also determined by the mission consciousness.

On the side of educators, it is not clear why they are not loved. They have a very strong sense of mission. It has been embedded in Hungarian culture for 150–200 years, the teachers are the flame of the torch, practically the bringers of light, the future of the nation, the educated human heads depend on them.

The Speaker reveals:

  • according to the expert, what could be the next step in the dialogue between educators and the government;
  • in which region of the country does the child perform worst;
  • whether a hybrid education system can be introduced;

You can watch the full video by clicking on the player above, and you can access the podcast version of the chat below:

(Cover image: János Setényi . Photo: Péter Papajcsik / Index)

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