Education minister talks tough on sit-ins, protests against reform

Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou on Tuesday sought to strike a hard line opposite protesting university and technical college students, who have been occupying dozens of faculties across the country, noting that extended sit-ins would lead to protesters losing credits from their studies.

?Every struggle has its price,? Diamantopoulou told a press conference before emphasizing that the government would not allow ?the minorities? to prevail and that the law will be enforced.

Calls — by academics and students — for the revocation of a higher education law voted through Parliament last month constitute ?an insult to democracy? given that the legislation was approved by four-fifths of MPs in Parliament, Diamantopoulou said.

The minister accused critics of the law of propagating six ?blatant lies? and stressed that state funding for education would not be revoked and fees would not be introduced for postgraduate courses.

Students last week staged protest rallies in Athens and Thessaloniki against the law, which paves the way for independent evaluations of university academics, sets restrictions on the length of time students have to complete degrees and abolishes university asylum — a ban on police on university grounds.

Diamantopoulou also has problems to tackle in the primary and secondary education sectors, where textbooks and teachers are in short supply.

Administrative Reform Minister Dimitris Reppas on Tuesday heralded the appointment of 1,100 teachers to fill vacancies. Meanwhile, teachers told Kathimerini that it was unclear who would pay for thousands of photocopies of textbooks that will have to be run off daily until textbooks are delivered.

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