Varosmajori Gymnazium and Primary School

What a joy to finally visit a school in Budapest.  Whereas we are often assigned schools by the district we live in, the Hungarians are able to choose and the state pays for it.  However, that means that very good schools such as this have many more applicants than they can ever accept.  The truth is that many of the children in poorer areas will never be able to take an entrance exam to get in, and most of these well-regarded schools have supplemental town money to provide the best for their children.  So, unfortunately the best education is really only available to the already privileged students.  Sound familiar?  The teachers barely make a tremendously low salary–in fact they simply can’t live on it, so most work three or four jobs–walking dogs or house cleaning in the afternoons and relying on their spouses and families for making ends meet. The Hungarians really do value education, but they are struggling with a decling population and twice the amount of teachers and schools needed, but no politician dares mention shutting down half the system to make it sustainable.  And so the challenges continue…

The school buildings themselves are quite charming and clearly the students take pride in building their own community.  I wish we could have seen the schools in session, but they were out for summer vacation of course.

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