The last couple of months a steady flow of ´revolutionary
measures´ passes the Hungarian Parliament. There has been much
criticism on PM Viktor Orbán´s new media law, which let a Fidesz
committee decide on the objectivity and balance news reporting and
can require journalists to disclose their sources if ´national
security an public order´ would be at stake. The Election Law has
been rewritten in such a way that the newly drafted constituencies
support the governing Fidesz-party. Recently the government has put
the judiciary under direct political influence. The power to
appoint new judges lies with the recently established Fidesz-run
National Judiciary Office.
In the midst of all these developments little attention has been
paid to the educational reforms Hungary is embarking on. "The Education Bill has already been adopted. One
day before Christmas it quickly passed through parliament. But we
are still awaiting a series of by-laws," says Dávid Kiss (board
member of the national students union HÖOK). The Bill centers
on new Hungarian values such as diligence, honest work, honor
family, love for the country.
Fidesz turns around
Two important traits of the Education Bill are criticized by
HÖOK. Firstly the Orbán Government has rather briskly changed the
financing of higher education. Dávid Kiss: "Last year there were
around 50.000 State financed places in higher education. The new
legislation has cut that number to 35.000 places that are
completely State financed and another 15.000 semi financed places.
It is cynical that Fidesz introduces this measure as they strongly
opposed the introduction of tuition fees in a referendum in
Those students that will receive a State subsidy in the future
will have to sign a contract in which they promise to remain in
Hungary for at least ten years of the twenty years following their
graduation. Dávid Kiss can partly understand this, "but it would be
much better to improve the circumstances for young people entering
the Hungarian labor market."
Secondly the Orbán Government intends to push young people more
and more towards the technical studies and out of the humanities.
Dávid Kiss: "The budgets are not generally cut. It's especially the
social sciences, business and economic sciences that will
disappear. They say we have enough lawyers, enough economists, we
need more engineers."
Faculty under fire
Dávid Kiss personally experienced the drive of the government to
cut down on the social sciences. His Social Science Faculty at the
famous Corvinus University was threatened with closure last
November. It caused broad student's protests in Budapest. "It was a
big shock for us", says Kiss, "but they did not succeed in the end.
The faculty of Social Science at Corvinus University is still up
Another part of the same Corvinus University, the faculty of
Public Administration, has recently become part of PM Orbán's new
National University of Public Service. "We want
to train people who will dedicate their life to serving their
country and the public", Viktor Orbán said at the opening speech.
"We will not allow anyone to steer us away from pursuing our goals
in the future."
The question remains: what are the goals of Viktor Orbán.
According to Dávid Kiss Hungary is not on its way to becoming
anti-democratic. "Or at least I don't believe the aims of the
current government are anti-democratic, but the ways to reach the