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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-01-10

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Debate on article 16 ends in Parliament

  • [01] Debate on article 16 ends in Parliament

    The parliamentary ad hoc commitee on the revision of the Constitution which opened on Wednesday its debate on revising Article 16 so as to allow private, non-profit universities to be established in Greece, ended its sessions late in the night. At present, article 16 mandates that all higher education institutions in the country must belong to the state sector.

    Ruling New Democracy's spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos urged main opposition PASOK MPs to vote in favour of revising article 16, pointing out that the revision had been steadfastly supported by main opposition PASOK president George Papandreou.

    He also spoke of a "de facto" privatisation of universities by "closed shops" tactics guided by partisan bureaucracies.

    A spokesman for the main opposition underlined the differences between PASOK and ND, saying that the latter sought to create a situation where private and state-sector universities operated competitively, with state universities under stringent control from the education ministry, whereas PASOK saw the two operating to complement one another.

    Communisty Party of Greece (KKE) MP Antonis Skyllakos said both the main parties were thinking along market-oriented lines that would prove harmful to education and that the problems in education were caused not by the state-sector monopoly but by the policies being followed.

    According to the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) spokesman Fotis Kouvelis, both the main parties aimed to abolish the state-sector status of education.

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday described education as a "national issue on which there must be a broad consensus", during meetings with education minister Marietta Yannakou, and with the presidium of the Panhellenic Federation of Teachers' Organisations and University Research Personnel (POSDEP).

    Meanwhile, educational organisations had called a 24-hour strike on Wednesday. Rallies in Athens and other major cities throughout the country were held to protest the planned revision of Article 16.

    Among those taking part in the protests was KKE General Secretary Aleka Papariga, who accused the government and PASOK of "telling bare-faced lies to the people".

    According to Papariga, the final goal was a single market for higher education, in which universities would compete in the same way as dairy companies or telecoms companies now competed for market share.

    SYN leader Alekos Alavanos, again from the ranks of the protestors, stressed that both the main parties had come into head-on collision with the educational community and society and stressed that his party would fight for 5% of GDP for education, free access to universities for all and no change to article 16.

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