Vác: Eliminating Secular Schools
April 6, 2012
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The Christian Democrat mayor of Vác, a town with 35 thousand inhabitants some 30 kilometers north of Budapest has announced on Monday that all schools and kindergartens of the local government will be handed over to the Baptist church. Vác is a traditionally catholic town, with an own catholic bishop, catholic primary and secondary schools as well as a catholic teacher training college.
While until a year ago, the motivation for handing over local schools was also financial (church schools get twice as much money from the state budget, while local governments and NGOs have to finance one half of the running costs by themselves), the state is just in the process of centralising education (the details are not quite clear yet).
Mr Attila Fördős is planning to hand over five primary and 4 secondary schools to the baptists, as well as some kindergartens. This move is affecting several thousands of children as parents as well as thousand teachers.
The local socialists are asking Mr Fördős what will become of the children who do not wish to attend a church school and of those teachers who do not want to submit to church teachings (according to the law, sectarian schools are entitled to enforce their teachings with pupils and staff).
The baptists try to calm down the public by saying that they agree to take over only schools where two thirds of staff and parents approve of this. But: where will the rest teach and learn?