Education Minister Costas Gavroglou faced a barrage of criticism Tuesday after announcing his intention on Monday to scrap Latin from the Greek school curriculum as part of his ministry’s plan to overhaul the country’s secondary education system and university entry exams.
The Philosophy School of the University of Athens slammed the decision as “completely wrong and anachronistic,” saying it will deprive Greek students of knowledge that forms part of the European identity.
“The unjustified downgrading of Latin is a completely wrong and anachronistic strategy which unfortunately will bring even greater isolation of the country’s student population from the European reality and its further entrenchment in the one-sided admiration of the – undoubtedly great – Greek civilization, with all the unpleasant consequences this may have,” the faculty said.
“Both learning the Latin language and the study of Latin literature and the Roman civilization are essential prerequisites for Greek pupils to form a complete European cultural identity,” it added.
According to the new system, Latin will be replaced with sociology and will no longer be included in the national university entry exams. The measure will apply as of June 2020.
Speaking to Kathimerini on Monday, the president of the Panhellenic Union of Philologists, Tasoula Karageorgiou, echoed the sentiments expressed.
“It was an unexpected development that came as an unpleasant surprise. The sidelining of Latin will have an impact on our knowledge of antiquity. Greece is the cradle of classical education and we are downgrading this subject,” she said.
On Tuesday philologists were collecting signatures to reverse the ministry’s decision, adding a series of long-standing demands for the sector.