Hungary Removes Education Chief After Protests Over Orban's Cuts

  • State Secretary Czunyine to be replaced by Palkovics
  • Teachers planning another mass demonstration next week

Hungary replaced its education chief Saturday after nationwide protests against Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s centralization of the school system.

State Secretary Judit Bertalan Czunyine will be replaced by Laszlo Palkovics, who was in charge of higher education, Human Resources Minister Zoltan Balog told reporters in Budapest, according to the government website. The cabinet is also ready to return some autonomy to school districts to meet teachers’ demands, he said.

Thousands of Hungarian teachers protested against Orban’s overhaul of the school system on Wednesday after the deepest cuts to education spending in Europe left schools short of basics, including chalk. While Orban has ruled out a complete reversal of his policy, protesting teachers said the new system is too flawed to be fine-tuned.

The government has urged teachers to cancel a mass demonstration in Budapest planned for Feb. 13 and instead attend a round-table next week to discuss educational reform.

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