February 29th, 2016.
A 16-year-old student walks into his classroom in a regular high school. However, in the exact moment when he opens the door, he notices that something is off.
This student learns in a class which includes 35 people in total. However, as it turns out, the amount of kids who went to school that day is...
Well, take a guess. Come on, I won't bite.
How is that even possible, you may ask? Well, with the recent rise of a movement called the "I won't go to school!" Day.
You see, recently, there's been a major dispute about the state of Hungary's education, its recently gained centralized nature (being 90% controlled by a state-owned bureau, called the KLIK, which chooses which teachers teach at which school and supplies the money and books to schools), and how that ruins everything.
Cases in point: the school I learn in recieved, in one year, 0 HUF of funding; consequently, the teacher had to ask us for money so we could have toilet paper.
Several crappy teachers also started teaching in this era due to the management not having any say in the matter, and the more valuable ones, like foreigners, are actually treated worse than them (the American who teaches us English recieves the lowest salary of all the employees in the school, cleaners included, from what I hear).
There have also been major restrictions on the choice of books, giving only one book in some subjects from which the school can "choose" to teach from, as well as an experimental, state-made line of books which started teaching that vinegar is odorless and that oil has a foul odor.
Thus, on the 14th of February, the teachers, and some students, held a protest.
Now, we don't know much about the actual number of people who took part in that, but we do know that the square in front of the Parliament, Kossuth Square, was full, there was a continuous flow of people from the metro station to said square for almost an hour, and the people who tried to count the amount of people gave up at about 55,000.
Now, this would've been more than enough to make everyone calm down... had someone not started to speak.
A former under-secretary who worked under the current ruling party, Fidesz, became irritated at the teachers' protests, saying protests don't solve anything, and that he's had enough of "these unshaved teachers in flannel shirts."
You can take one guess what happened afterwards.
(The text reads "Thank you!", if you were wondering.)
...Yeah. Reportedly, at least 9.5 thousand children went to school in flannel. A+ damage control, folks. Keep up the good work.
And you'd think that was the only mistake they made via a person no longer holding an office.
But no, of course not. They had to lash out at a school which dismissed some classes in favour of another protest, requesting hundreds of pages of documents in a 12-hour deadline. There were, obviously, protests in front of the school in solidarity, and that's when shit hit the fan.
That, fine people, is the area near the school on the 19th of February (the same day the flannel riot came into place). This group includes a crapton of regular police cars, three vans full of policemen, and two rapid response cars.
Due to that, and several other things in the meantime which, if I'd list them all, would make me sit here for days on end, two new events started forming:
- the aforementioned "I won't go to school!" Day, which was started by parents and slightly abuses the system in place which lets parents take their children out of school 3-5 times in a year;
- and a protest on a national holiday, the 15th of March, which coincidentally is in celebration of the start of the Revolution of 1848-1849.
And this is the part where I share my opinion, so sit tight and get ready for bashing me ASAP.
Frankly, I love these protests. It makes me feel delighted to see that so many people, who were once seperated by several kinds of arguments, are now reunited in a fight for a common goal. Plus, I finally have some kind of excitement in my life.
However, I honestly think that this is not the way to do this, or that there should be certain circumstances met, which are, as of now, not met.
Picture this: a parent, who sympathizes with the teachers, joins this and doesn't let their 1st and 3rd grader children go to school. (Keep in mind that parents have the final decision.) So now the children are either clueless about what's going on, or they're introduced into the infinite cesspool that is the world of politics.
Or picture this: a child of 5th to 7th grade happens to be from a family sympathizing with the protests. He doesn't really give two fucks about the teachers, but would be happy if he could skip a day for whatever reason, so he introduces his parents to this protest in an attempt to abuse this method of expressing opinion.
As you can see, there are many, many ways to abuse this system on both sides of the scale, and it ultimately only harms the kids mentally. So, what my idea is:
By Hungarian law, after the age of 16, a student is no longer legally required to learn in a school. So, either after that age, or after the age of 18 (age of majority), the students should be able to choose whether they want to partake in this kind of protest or not.
Those under that age should stay put, no matter what their parents say; if they are older and if they want, they can and should take part in protests in their free time.
Annnd with that rambling over, it's time to close up this blog post. Thanks for reading, have a nice day!