72 percent of Hungarians agree with the graduation exams kicking off on Monday, and only 19 percent share the opposition’s opinion that final grades calculated on overall school performance should have been offered to students instead, reveals a telephone interview based public opinion poll conducted by Nézőpont Intézet over the last two days of April. Graduation exam gets the top mark, while the opposition has certainly failed the test.
At the end of April, confidence in the government’s crisis management remained high among Hungarians. Three out of four (76 percent) are “fully” or “more” satisfied with the government’s “measures against the spread of the coronavirus”. To talk about national unity would be an exaggeration, however, it is an important development that 37 percent of voters who criticise the government over other issues are also satisfied with the cabinet’s actions. Moreover, satisfaction with the government’s performance is at least two-thirds across all age groups regardless of settlement type and level of education.
The coronavirus emergency turned the issue of school finals into a tense political debate, which the opposition seems to have lost. Only 19 percent of Hungarian adults like the concept of opposition politicians that grades should be offered on overall school performance instead of a central and uniform final examination, while 72 percent prefer the exam, either as compulsory or optional. Even 60 percent of opposition voters are more in favour of offering exams than of their own politicians’ notion that is meant to be anti-government but does in fact deny students equal opportunity.
Between 4-21 May, about 70 000 students can take the uniform graduation exams under special conditions. 89 percent of Hungarians agree that the examination is voluntary, and only those who want to pursue further studies need to take it, while 75 percent support more relaxed regulation than usual, such as that students should be able to waiver the examination before the due date, in case they decide they prefer to do it next year. Overall, 73 percent (65 percent among government critics) are in favour of the measure that only written exams will be held in 2020, although students have performed better in oral tests in previous years, but these would be a health risk in the current circumstances. Finally, 85 percent of Hungarian society also agree that in order to avoid crowded public transport in the morning, exams on Monday should start at 9am, an hour later than it is customary.
The position of the opposition parties thus represents a minority within Hungarian society point by point and as a whole, and their only consolation may be that only 42 percent of Hungarians addressed this issue last week, while 82 percent were discussing the coronavirus.
The public opinion poll was conducted by Nézőpont Intézet between 29-30 April 2020 based on telephone interviews with 1,000 respondents. The sample is representative of the 18+ population by geneder, age, region, settlement type and level of education. A sample of 1,000 at 95 percent accuracy has a margin of error of 3.16 percent.