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Education Ministry wants to decentralise school administration

The Education Ministry has prepared a law on school administration and school self-government intended to decentralise school administration, restore the self-governing principle in schools, and give more power to local and regional school boards, the state secretary of education said on April 20.

Education Ministry State Secretary Lászlo Szigeti said the revisions should restore the effectiveness of school councils in elementary and high schools, which became mere formal institutions after the original education law was revised in 1995. Szigeti told a press conference that school boards should again be in charge of nominating school principals and recommending their dismissal. A locally-appointed school inspector would also have the right to propose that a dismissed director be reinstated in justified cases, he said.

To balance the additional power on the local level, the Education Ministry wants to set up state school inspection teams which would monitor schools. At the present time, district and regional governments have sole charge over school inspections and the state is not directly involved.

The responsibility of financially managing schools will also be decentralised. The Education Ministry intends to give financial authority to the heads of education departments in the regional and district governments, Szigeti said.

Ministries and other governmental bodies are currently are reviewing the law. Some of them already have disagreed with giving school councils the authority to appoint school directors. But Szigeti explained in response that increasing the authority of the school boards is part of a larger government plan of decentralisation of the state administration.

The Legislative Council of Cabinet is expected to submit the law to Parliament so that, if passed, it could become effective from September 1.

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