The new school season in Greece comes this week with the inauguration of the first private professional lyceum, for teenagers aged from 14 to 17 years old, on Chios island that has a specific direction toward maritime professions.
The aim is to steer the local youth back toward the island's glorious sea tradition.
The new school is officially opening on Friday, September 14 at Kardamyla, just north of the island's main town.
The mastic-producing island has long supplied Greece with captains, engineers, sailors and shipowners, one of whom, Panagiotis Tsakos, has set up a foundation on Chios that is now launching Greece's first private professional lyceum for maritime education in Greece.
While offering the same opportunities to students as state professional lyceums for graduating to Greece's state Merchant Marine Academies or the universities, the new school has the bonus of giving them the experience to work as trainees at the Tsakos group if they wish to.
Michalis Belegris, General Manager at the Maria Tsakos Foundation on Chios, told Xinhua that the Tsakos Enhanced Education Nautical School (TEENS) aims to reverse the trend in Greek shipping where Greek officers are in constant reduction in recent years.
"We have managed to convince several teenagers to swap the general-education lyceum with the only private school on Chios that will offer them the skills needed to succeed in the maritime professions," said Belegris, adding that the classes are expected to be almost full from the very start of the school year thanks to the high take-up rate recorded.
The new lyceum will also employ a pioneering e-learning application developed in Greece, named SQLearning, that allows for the optimum cooperation between teachers, students and parents.
The foundation's aim – that forms part of the Tsakos Group of Companies – is to enhance maritime education on the island and in Greece in general, Belegris explained.
The goal is to turn Chios into an international center for maritime research and education. The new Nautical School is the first step in this direction, setting the pattern for others to follow around Greece.
Greek shipowners control some 20 percent of the global merchant fleet.