Teachers prepare protests

Complaining of teaching staff shortages and a lack of schoolbooks and classrooms nearly two months after schools re-opened after the summer holidays, teachers, students and parents’ associations are planning protests in Athens and Thessaloniki tomorrow. According to the state secondary schoolteachers’ union (OLME), schools all over the country are short of about 3,500 teachers. The worst shortages are in the Dodecanese (390 teachers) and the Cyclades (370 teachers). The primary schoolteachers union (DOE) says primary schools lack about 1,000 teachers. Yesterday, OLME, DOE and parents’ associations met to discuss joint protests, starting with a demonstration outside the Ministry of Education tomorrow morning seeking hirings, books and more spending on education. To facilitate teacher attendance at the protest, the unions have called three-hour strikes from 11.30 a.m. that will apply to all schools in Attica. But at today’s meeting, ministers will also have to present what they have done so far in light of the next visit to Athens, on November 21, of the International Olympic Committee’s Coordination Commission. These issues include the Public Works Ministry’s road projects, some projects of the Sports General Secretariat (especially the equestrian center), housing for athletes and journalists, other transport projects (the tender for the tram), and the operational program for security in cooperation with the ministries of Public Order and Defense.

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