Pierrakakis: Study in Greece is a 'success story for us, this is only the beginning'

study in greece parthenon, acropolis

Education and Religions Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis on Wednesday addressed a conference at the education ministry on the work of the Study in Greece agency, which aims to internationalise Greece's university studies, entitled "Reflecting on the Past - Gazing into the Future of Higher Education", moderated by journalist Nikos Meggrelis.

"'Study in Greece' is a success story for us, we firmly believe in what we can achieve and what we have already achieved," Pierrakakis said, while he thanked his predecessor Niki Kerameus for her work in initiating this effort.

The minister noted that prior to its introduction a "helicopter view of Greece's academic life" showed that the country "had the hardware but not the software" to internationalise its academic studies."

While possessing good quality people with an international multiplier, he said, the institutional paradigm that would fully open up the Greek university to the world needed to be included.

Commenting that other countries in Europe have achieved this "and achieved it immensely," he said that Greece had needed a full spectrum of reforms and a very cohesive strategy consisting of all the relevant tools to achieve it, to do the same.

The country was now started achieving it, Pierrakakis added, and this was why co-study in Greece was such a success, while highlighting the contribution of the various partners engaged in this effort who had started collaboration with Greek universities on joint study programmes.

"This is only the beginning", he said, adding that the institutional framework for the internationalisation of Greek universities was already in place, along with instruments to facilitate this opening up, but "we need to make more and this is the commitment of the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis."

He announced plans for additional institutional reforms in the coming months with the aim of deepening this policy and establishing more joint degrees, more research programmes and ending the state monopoly with regard to Greek state universities, to create "a freer and better academic landscape, which will give us the potential to reach what we can achieve."

The minister concluded by congratulating Study in Greece and stressing that the ministry was "on your side to achieve this very significant goal."

He was followed by Deputy Minister of Tourism Elena Rapti, who said that internationalisation of higher education yielded benefits beyond education, for diverse sectors in both the public and private domains. Pointing out that in Greece, education was strongly linked to tourism and culture, she said that together these sectors "serve as connecting vessels that contribute to the overall development and promotion of Greece."

Tourism was a direct beneficiary of internationalisation in education, she added, and the tourism ministry was committed to supporting it.

She also pointed to the substantial global demand for studies in tourism with Greece as one of the most sought-after destinations, not only for vocational training but also higher-level studies and collaboration with esteemed universities offering courses in tourism studies.

Rapti also noted the potential role of international students and their families as a way to increase tourist flows throughout the year, as well as education tourism through short-term programmes such as summer schools, saying these presented investment and business opportunities for various industries in tourism, which was still struggling with post-pandemic challenges, such as migration of staff to other sectors.

Other speakers included Niki Dandolou, special secretariat for the management of ECB programmes at the development and investments ministry, Panagiota Dionysopoulou, the General Director Tourism policy tourism ministry, Economic University of Athens rector Dimitris Bourantonis and Harokopio University professor Christos Michalakelis, the president of Study in Greece.

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