NEWS

Overhaul in store for higher education 

overhaul-in-store-for-higher-education

Seeking to upgrade the country’s system of higher education, widen its scope, entrench hitherto elusive meritocracy and to activate a brain grain, the Education Ministry is on course to introduce legislation with radical changes affecting the curriculum, selection of academics and administration.

Kathimerini understands that the draft bill foresees departments of applied sciences essentially taking the place of the technical colleges (TEI) that were abolished under the previous SYRIZA government, to cover the needs of technical education. Students will be admitted through national entry exams while graduates of vocational training institutes (IEKs) will also be given the opportunity to attend them.

Other novelties provide for changes to the structure of study programs as well as the way professors are selected. The main goal of the latter changes is to elicit a brain gain, by luring young Greek academics, as well as non-Greeks, from abroad.

For this reason, the composition of the selection bodies will be expanded, in order to prevent choices that do not meet meritocratic standards. Moreover, new forms of employment will be instituted for academics, so that professors from abroad can be transferred to Greek universities for a certain period of time to teach or conduct research.

The new administration model will be based on the reinstatement of the councils comprising out-of-university members. In 2011 the institution of the councils provoked strong reactions. At that time, a large part of the university community was hostile to the councils, as “foreign bodies,” while the elected rectors also reacted. 

For this reason, the Education Ministry is now stressing that the responsibilities of the councils will be completely distinct from those of the rectors, who are elected by the academics of each university. The question is how the rectors will be chosen: by the councils, by the academics or in some other way?