Teachers demonstrated in Hungary on Friday over 'reforms' to the education system which are characterised by budget cuts, increasing privatisation and centralisation of the curriculum under the control of the government.

Campaigners say that currcicula are being rewritten and controlled centrally to promote the government's ideology - for example curricula which have been designed by teachers for children in low income areas will be jettisoned to be replaced by government ones. Moreover the school leaving age has been lowered from 18 to 16. Scholarships to students have been cut leading to a huge decrease in the number of young people applying to university and those that do, have to sign a contract agreeing to work in Hungary for double the length of their course.

Meanwhile teachers' pay is declining from a very low base. Average primary school teachers in Hungary earn $690 a month before tax - and are some of the worst paid in Europe. Steep cuts in education funding have served to exacerbate this situation. The government is also bringing in a new national teachers' corps - to which teachers will have to belong. The teachers' union PDSZ, says that this could limit teachers' freedom of speech.

The demonstration on Friday was led by the PDSZ and supported by student and parent groups as well as the main trade union organisation, LIGA.