Greek Students Rally Against Government Plans for Private Universities

Greek education, university reforms, student protests, private universities, Greek government, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, education policy, higher education, student activism, public universities, academic reforms, Greek economy, foreign students, education accessibility.

In Athens, Greek students took to the streets to protest against the government's plans for private universities, resulting in clashes with the police. The conservative government, led by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is poised to present a bill to parliament this month to pave the way for private universities to operate in the country as branches of foreign institutions. The proposed reforms have sparked discontent among the student population.

The bill, announced by Mitsotakis in December, is framed as an initiative to attract foreign students to Greece and make a substantial contribution to the country's economy. Additionally, it aims to provide an alternative for the approximately 40,000 Greek students who pursue higher education abroad each year. The intention is to allow these students to study in their home country.

Greece currently boasts 24 accredited government-funded public universities, where attendance has been free for decades. Alongside these public institutions, there are several private colleges in the country. However, the proposed reforms have ignited concerns among student unions and protestors. Critics argue that allowing private universities to operate in the country may devalue degrees from Greece's public universities.

Student unions fear that introducing private universities could create a tiered system where those who can afford private education have access to different academic resources. This, in turn, could exclude students who lack the financial means to pursue education in the private system. The protests reflect a broader sentiment among students and educators who advocate for preserving the public character of universities in Greece.

The Greek Federation of Secondary Education State School Teachers (OLME), actively participating in the protests, has expressed support for the public nature of universities. The clash between the government's vision for private education and the concerns raised by students and educators underscores the ongoing debate over the direction of higher education in Greece and the potential consequences of the proposed reforms.


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