With controversy still swirling around the leftist-led government’s decision to scrap the tradition of honoring top primary school pupils by allowing them to carry the national flag in school parades, the Education Ministry on Friday invited fresh criticism from the conservative opposition after abolishing the monthly ceremony of raising the Greek flag and singing the national anthem at primary schools.
In comments to Skai Friday, New Democracy vice president Adonis Georgiadis said the government – politically damaged by austerity policy – was trying to shore up its leftist credentials. “SYRIZA has been voting one memorandum after the other and slashing pensions, and thus needs to remind its partisan audience that it is still a left-wing party,” said Georgiadis, adding that its agenda is at odds with the traditional values of Greek society.
Primary schools traditionally hold a flag-raising ceremony before class on the first Monday of every month. According to a presidential decree, the flag will remain hoisted, as is standard practice on public buildings.
Adding to the controversy, ND MP Nikitas Kaklamanis said that an earlier version of the decree included the abolition of morning assembly prayers – which was averted, he said, after an intervention by President Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
The Education Ministry rebuffed the allegation.