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live Rectors close four universities

25 September 2013 / 10:09:52  GRReporter
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The management bodies of the University of Athens, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the Polytechnic School, the University of Ioannina, the Faculty of Education at the University of Thessaly have announced that they are interrupting the functions of the educational institutions. This is the third consecutive week of ceased educational and administrative functions of the University of Athens. The Polytechnic School will be closed until next Wednesday when the council of deans will decide whether to extend the measure. The University of Ioannina and the University of Thessaloniki will remain closed until next week too.

The reason for the complete blocking of all functions of the four universities is the upcoming redundancy of 1,349 administrative employees in eight universities and colleges. The decision of their management bodies has provoked strong reactions in the Greek public space.

Many commentators are criticizing the actions of the rectors, accusing them of hypocrisy, having decided to spoil the start of the academic year just to protect the interests of a group of civil servants. Their dissatisfaction is supplemented by the fact that, despite the cessation of all functions of the universities, the specific employees will be regularly paid at the end of the month although they will not work even for one day.

The controversial protest of rectors coincides with the deadline for enrolment of newly admitted students  which expires on September 27. It is expected that the Ministry of Education will extend the deadline.

At the same time, the protests of secondary school teachers are continuing. Their trade union OLME was unable to decide whether the five-day strike would continue and now they are involved in the 48-hour strike announced by the trade union of public sector employees ADEDY.

At the same time, the number of schools occupied by students is growing. This means in practice that the students are "taking over" the school buildings, not allowing the school classes to take place. According to publications, in the majority of cases, these "spontaneous" occupations are initiated by the teachers themselves who are thus able to achieve their goal to boycott the teaching process but to receive their salaries on a regular basis since they are not officially on strike.

It is expected that the Ministry of Education will soon respond to the occupation of schools. According to sources from the Ministry, the legal service is working on a draft presidential decree, according to which "the school year for schools undergoing occupation for more than three days will be extended by the same period of time."

According to the regional directorates of education, 10% to 15% of schools in Greece are under occupation. The number of occupied schools is 70 in Athens and 40 in Thessaloniki.
 
A protest against the reforms in the education sector with the participation of high school teachers and students will take place in Athens today at 1:00 pm. The trade unions of employees in the public and private sector ADEDY and GSEE, leftist organizations and parties will hold an anti-fascist protest in Syntagma Square at 6:00 pm. By order of the police, the underground stations "Syntagma", "Panepistimio" and "Evangelismos" will be closed at 11:30 am.

To be continued

Tags: SocietyProtestEducationUnversitiesStrikeOccupation of schools
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