Hungary: PSZ-SEH calls on government to issue protocol for a safe return to school


In preparation for the 2020/2021 academic year, education systems across Europe are bracing themselves for reopening schools in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, the Hungarian ETUCE Member organisation PSZ-SEH highlights its demands for policies that ensure a safe, healthy, and sustainable return to school.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has shaken education communities globally. While the teaching profession has tremendously mobilised to continue providing quality education in this emergency context, they have also stressed the toll this exceptional circumstance has taken on workers’ health and safety, and have called for support and sustainable return-to- school-policies for this autumn.

On 12 August 2020, PSZ-SEH issued a communication calling on the Hungarian government to publish a protocol for school reopening, in particular regarding hybrid education, mixing face-to-face and virtual classes. While PSZ-SEH recognises a hybrid model of education as a possible solution in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it highlights essential conditions for a safe and healthy start of the academic year for all, and in particular, advocates for :

  • The involvement of education trade unions and parents’ organisations in the designing of the return to school protocol;
  • Free of charge testing for all education workers on a monthly basis ;
  • Specific protective measures for vulnerable education workers;
  • Provision of protective and hygienic equipment in classrooms such as thermometers and hand sanitizers;
  • Recognition and financial compensation for staff overtime resulting from the hybrid teaching model;
  • A flexible curriculum that is respectful of teachers’ agency in light of the hybrid education model.

These recommendations echo many of education trade unions’ demands across Europe. ETUCE has, at all stages of the pandemic, highlighted the concerns and recommendations of national education trade unions and advocated for their meaningful involvement in all decisions impacting the education sector.

In particular, in preparation for schools reopening, ETUCE issued a set of recommendations to ensure a safe and healthy return to schools for all and highlighted the common concerns of the whole school community in a joint Statement with school students and parents’ associations. Looking ahead, the ETUCE continues to stand with its member organisations in their efforts to facilitate the education sector’s road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.