Mitsotakis blasts proposed higher eduction changes as return to 1982

9 June 2017
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A controversial draft bill on higher education attracted shrill criticism by the opposition in Greece this week, as two of the “highlights” in the legislation essentially restore a blanket university asylum regime and a decision-making role for highly politicized student organizations that operate in practically every Greek higher education institution.

The bill, if passed, would also shift the management of tuition-based post-graduate programs from university leaderships to a board comprised of appointed officials from the education ministry and other ministries.

Essentially, the draft bill restores the status quo of a landmark 1982 bill, which critics over subsequent decades charged utterly politicized universities’ administrations and the academic tenure process. The previous blanket asylum regime was also blamed for widespread destruction and vandalism of university property, campuses used as “mustering” stations for self-styled anti-state youth and even as law enforcement-free havens for the illicit trade of everything from bootleg brand-name products to drugs.

The draft bill, submitted by relevant minister Costas Gavroglou on behalf of the leftist-rightist coalition government, earned a sharp rebuke on Thursday of main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Mitsotakis was the latest opposition figure to blast the proposed education reforms, or what the opposition and much of the press have termed as “counter-reforms”.

“Unfortunately, this (draft bill) comprises yet another major step backwards,” Mitsotakis said, adding that it would resurrect the work pathogeneses that plagued Greece’s higher education system in the past.
Mitsotakis said the draft bill threatens universities’ autonomy, fuels a centralized administration and bureaucracy, abolishes institutions that boosted transparency, downgrades post-grad programs and restores petty partisan politics to college boards.

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