Speech by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the opening event of the 16th Star of the Technical Profession Festival

24 April 2023, Budapest

Good morning. Honourable Students, Educators, Parents, Ladies and Gentlemen, Honourable President and Vice President of the Chamber, Government Representatives,

I welcome you all. Thank you for inviting me to be with you once again at the opening of the Star of the Technical Profession Festival. It is always a pleasure to come here and feel at home among you. This may be because there are some qualities that students, educators and prime ministers have in common, or should have in common; because, after all, government is a technical profession – or, more precisely, one aspect of it is a technical profession. The first – and perhaps most important – shared quality is curiosity: the ability to always examine an old problem from a new perspective. The second characteristic is creativity; because once you see a problem, you cannot ignore it, but you have to do something about it and find a solution. The third important quality is persistence; without this a difficulty or a failure would lead us to abandon everything – but we skilled workers repeatedly return to those problems that do not surrender easily or cheaply. And finally, the fourth important skill is collaboration; because no one can create something lasting if they work alone, without family, teachers, friends and colleagues. Please, Dear Students, remember this: curiosity, creativity, perseverance and collaboration. These are the keys to success! 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In Hungarian public life, it is customary to disparage and denigrate our schools and our school system. Of course the situation could be better, and there is still room for improvement, but let us not belittle it. The success of Hungarian students in the domestic and international arenas is also a tribute to Hungarian education. And special credit for this goes to their teachers, who spare no time and effort in paving the way for their students. You have no doubt heard that the Pope is coming to Hungary this weekend. He was once asked how many people work at the Vatican. He was in a light-hearted mood, and so he replied, “About half of them.” We, Dear Students, cannot afford that. Hungary can only prosper if everyone here works, and everyone works well. Speaking of the weekend, do not forget that anyone who is inclined should also think in that direction; after all, our Lord Jesus Christ was also a skilled worker, a carpenter – and that that is hardly a coincidence.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Government is constantly renewing vocational training. I see that educators, students and their parents are open to change. For some years the number of people enrolling in vocational education and training has been increasing, and their academic results are improving. Today, six out of ten pupils leaving primary school continue their studies in vocational education and training, and the most popular type of school is the technical college. And for me, this is the most important thing, the true measure of our school system. As the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry has told us, for those who want to go further a technical qualification can be combined with middle management training, and when it comes to going on to higher education, a significant advantage is enjoyed by those who have completed five years of such training. This is an important and major achievement of the vocational training system. The introduction of dual training has also proved to be beneficial for both businesses and the country’s overall performance and economic growth. And the increase in the number of applicants and the improved learning outcomes show that the new system is welcomed by students and their families. In the end, this is what really counts, and this is what makes the difference. I am sure that you have also come across the name of the writer Sándor Márai, who left us a great deal to take to our hearts. In one of his novels, he instructs us to always go to the West and never forget that we come from the East. Today, I can tell you that you do not have to go, because here at home, in the Carpathian Basin, Western and Eastern companies are present alongside Hungarian businesses. With Hungarian know-how, organisation and will, we have the ability to build a country in which it is good – for you also – to live, work, build a family and raise children. Even if we look around the wide world, which is a good thing to do, it is always worth coming home. This is the only home you have, this is the only homeland. This is where you must thrive, and this is the only place where there is a Hungarian future. In this spirit, I would like to thank all the educators, mentors, experts and colleagues who in recent years have worked selflessly and with great heart and dedication in Hungarian vocational education and training. I wish students, their educators and families every success in their vocational training!

Go Hungary, go Hungarians!