Court rejects claims against referendum on new controversial education law in Hungary


On 21 July 2023 Hungary’s Constitutional Court cancelled the referendum launched by the Trade Union of Teachers (PSZ-SEH) following Hungary’s new controversial bill affecting the country’s teachers. The education trade unions are taken by surprise. Although the body had 30 days to decide on the complaint filed for the validation of referendum questions, it decided within a few days and cancelled the decision of the Curia, which had approved two referendum questions and the referendum initiative itself.

The Constitutional Court justified the rejection, arguing that citizens do not have sufficient professional knowledge to decide on the following questions:  

  • Should the weekly number of class hours for students be reduced by three?
  • Should disadvantaged students study the same curriculum as students of elite schools?

Hungarian education trade unions are concerned that instead of putting the future of the country and the education of the young citizens centrestage, the government has offset the referendum out of fear that citizens could express their opinion on the developments in the country via a referendum on education.

ETUCE confirms its strong support and solidarity with its Hungarian colleagues. Susan Flocken, The European Director underlines  “This reformed education law does not address any of the issues raised by the education trade unions before - it is a slap in education workers’ face! This education law reform clearly demonstrates that the Hungarian government fails to recognise the value of high quality teachers and education for the country”.

ETUCE continues closely monitoring the developments.