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29th April, 2019

Students object to foreign-language requirement

High school and university students staged a demonstration outside Parliament Friday afternoon against government plans to make proficiency in a foreign language a requirement for those wishing to pursue post-secondary education from 2020.

In his speech, organiser Viktor Gyetvai called on Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to sit a medium-level complex language examination by September 1.

If that does not happen, he added, then students will initiate a referendum on postponing the entry into law of the proposal until the Hungarian education system is able to prepare all students for such a language exam and another referendum on whether a person may become prime minister who does not meet the requirements of a university entrance exam.

Kriszta Ercse, spokeswoman for the Civil Public Education Section, proposed that the planned law be delayed until 85% of MPs pass the foreign-language exam.

Democratic Coalition president Ferenc Gyurcsány, as well as politicians from the Socialist, Dialogue, Jobbik, LMP and Momentum parties, were present at the demonstration on Kossuth tér.

The Human Resources Ministry alleged that the “Soros network” and the opposition parties were behind the demonstration.

Sources regularly consulted, with abbreviations used in text: Népszabadság (N); Magyar Hírlap (MH); Világgazdaság (VG); Napi Gazdaság (NG); Magyar Nemzet (MN); Népszava (Nsz); Kossuth Rádió news (KR); nightly TV news (TV).

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