Friday, 11 July 2014

TIME FOR THE SHOUTING

They thought it was all over
Some good news, and some bad

Last Friday's renationalisation of the Pető Institute certainly appears to have saved it from the unpleasant effect if imminent bankruptcy. Now calm can return, all's well with the world, and attention can turn to long summer break and the prospect of life, learning and business back to normal when everyone comes back for the the new term.

Perhaps there were some who imagined that the Pető Institute's bail-out and nationalisation a week ago mean that things there would now be fine 'going forward' (as would-be financial cognocenti like to say nowadays to imply that thevfuture will unfold as planned).

The good...

This is good news, the stated view from the ministerial bridge:
  • nationalisation means financial stability and legal protection
  • the Government takes responsibility to provide conditions for operation
  • things will be more transparent
  • the Government will help helps sort out the main problems with finance and personnel hat had been so costly in the past
  • the government will also ensure conditions for for international support to come in again (like once from United Kingdom, but also from the Middle East and Russia)
  • no redundancies are planned
  • accreditation of the training has yet to be to be sorted out – by 2017
  • the Institute's status will be clearly defined as educational (i.e. no longer on the boundary of health and education)
  • the status of conductors will be similar to those working in education.

...the bad...
Critical voices are beginning to be heard, expressing doubts this future. Here in summary is what the liberal newspaper Népszázva writes –
For years the management of the Pető Institute has not being doing what it needed to do, but nationalising the institution will not address fundamental problems. For example, a proposal for a research programme accepted two years ago has not been implemented. This and upgrading the academic (lecturing) staff could have gone some way towards restoring the Institute's international reputation.
The Amending Act of Parliament that has just nationalised the Pető Institute also makes for big changes in the Hungarian Accreditation Commission. This could now impede adoption of the Institute's urgently required academic changes (which are already two years overdue).
Meanwhile it just might be the mixture as before. After all, ninety percent of the Institute's income already comes from the state anyway. Nothing has been said yet about rumoured financial improprieties, poor pay for conductors, the serious deterioration of the buildings, and lack of research and development.
Interviewed in Femina, a woman's magazine, an Institute conductor who has worked there since the nineteen-eighties hardly surprisingly opts to remain anonymous. What she said is exerpted here –
  • management, particularly financial management has been inadequate over the last decade
  • there has been no money to buy anything was no money to anything and, they have even had to watch how much toilet paper they use
  • there have been unsettling rumours about the Institute's two properties, in particular about bringing the two sites together into one
  • In recent years it was the funding from international donations and activities that helped fill the financial holes, but foreign money no longer comes in as it used to
  • only the loyalty and commitment of conductors have kept the place going at all.

...and the ugly

This is politics, folks. In Hungary. Expect the unexpected. Certainly travel hopefully, expect and proclaim the best, and prepare for the worst. Let us hope that there will be great and cheering news, right from the very start of the new term. Here's wishing the best continuing luck to all who sail on the Good Ship Pető College.

Whatever happens, and however wise one might be about this with the wisdom of hindsight, things never turn out as anyone plans or expects. Remember the advice given by Harold McMillan, the British Prime Minister (allegedly) when asked what he feared most in politics –
Events, dear boy, events.
Hopes and intentions are already being overtaken by events. A Conductive Education export drive to the Middle East? What feasible oases of calm for this remain on the map? The new Pető College is going to have to be more than flexible, outright nimble, and evolve fast in order to adapt...

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