Greece: Students Protest Against Government For Proposing Changes To Education System

Greece: Students Protest Against Government For Proposing Changes To Education System

Universities in Greece are government-funded institutions where attendance has been free for decades.

Siksha MUpdated: Friday, January 12, 2024, 05:28 PM IST
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Greek students Protest Government Plan For Private Universities | Twitter @savvaskarma

Thousands of Greek students gathered in Athens and other urban areas on Thursday to demonstrate against proposed changes to the education system, which would allow the establishment of private universities in Greece. The current conservative government, led by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is anticipated to present a bill to the parliament. This bill aims to ease the operations of private universities in the country.

The government has said the schools will operate as branches of foreign universities. Many believe the move will devalue degrees from Greece’s public universities and that the private system will exclude those who cannot afford it.

Most protests were largely peaceful

Student Christina Iliopoulou, who participated in the protest in Athens, expressed that the change will dismantle the traditional public university system. She believes it will significantly disrupt their daily lives and impact their ability to secure employment after graduation.

The protests were largely peaceful, but there was a brief clash in Athens between protesters and police, who fired tear gas. Universities in Greece are government-funded institutions where attendance has been free for decades.

Protest turn violent

Clashes in Athens during a students' protest against government plans for private universities.

Protest due to education reforms in the past

Greece has implemented a series of education reforms in the past despite fierce opposition from students and staff. The government, which enjoys a parliamentary majority, has argued that the reform would bolster the economy by luring back some of around 40,000 students now studying overseas and reverse a brain drain of academics prompted by the 2010-2018 debt crisis.

The private universities’ curriculum would follow very strict academic standards, the government said last week, adding that the reform would also free public universities of bureaucracy and boost their self-governance.

Strict academic requirements

With a parliamentary majority, the government has maintained that the reform will boost the economy by bringing back some of the approximately 40,000 students who are now studying abroad and halting the academic brain drain that was brought on by the debt crisis of 2010-2018, reported Al Jazeera.

The government said last week that the curriculum of private colleges would adhere to extremely strict academic requirements. It also added that the reform would relieve public universities of bureaucracy and improve their self-governance.

(with inputs from ANI)

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