In an article published in Libération last week, Italian journalist Francesca De Benedetti took issue with the Hungarian government's stance on wages in the education sector.
De Benedetti claimed the government is attacking the educational sector through "backdoor measures," notably by rejecting any pay raises for teachers. As always, I would have liked to contest these claims in a letter to the editor at Libération, but, unsurprisingly, the editorial board never responded to my request.
Had they given me the opportunity, I would have made it clear that De Benedetti's claim is simply false. In actuality, the Hungarian government has frequently expressed its desire to drastically increase teacher pay. The government increased wages by 10 percent this year, and it plans to raise them by 10% in 2023 and subsequent years, although these hikes will be dramatically higher if EU funds are received.
These accusations made by the liberal media against the Hungarian government are mere lies, as Hungary made it clear a long time ago that teachers' pay should be increased substantially. We said this both before and following the first demonstration and walkout.
It has also been public for a while that the government wants to use both domestic and EU funds to deliver the largest-ever increase in teachers' pay over the next three years. If the EU funds due to Hungary are received, next year’s increase would be 21 percent, then 25 percent, and finally 29 percent.
Through these measures, the government’s aim is that in 25 months, the average salary of teachers will be HUF 777,000 compared to the current HUF 440,000. By 2025, the government will have spent HUF 1.2 trillion on teachers' wage hikes, financed equally from national and EU funds.
Overall, simply looking at the facts, it is crystal clear that the Hungarian government is committed to significantly increasing teachers' salaries, and it has been consulting with teachers and their representatives about issues related to education. De Benedetti's claim that the government is opposed to any salary increases for teachers is simply a bold-faced lie.
With the political blackmail from the EU over, we are confident that the resources Hungary is entitled to will reach and benefit our teachers. Even if it is against the will of the liberal mainstream.