SYRIZA brushes off criticism of ‘instigating’ teachers’ strike

Leftist SYRIZA opposition on Thursday brushed off government criticism that it was instigating a strike by teachers for political gain.

In a statement released Thursday, the anti-bailout party said the conservative-led coalition was exclusively responsible for the problems and omissions dogging the country’s education across all levels.

“The government knows very well that the teachers’ struggle is ‘instigated’ by the very need for a school system that is truly public and free, [a school] where pupils will receive all the necessary equipment,” the statement said.

Rolling strike action by teachers is expected to paralyze schools from next Monday.

SYRIZA said that a decision to fire thousands of teachers, mandated by the government’s commitments to Greece’s foreign lenders, suggests that the administration understands public education as an unnecessary luxury.

“The ridiculous attacks on SYRIZA cannot deflect attention from the government’s criminal responsibilities,” the statement said adding that the party will support teachers, students and parents in their efforts for public and free education.

After embracing the teachers’ cause in recent days, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday appealed directly to pupils to back protests against reforms in the education sector, hinting at sit-ins at schools.

Speaking to pupils at a school in Nea Ionia on Wednesday, Tsipras called on them to “support the struggles of your parents and above all those of your teachers.”

The leftist leader went on to express his conviction that that protests in the education sector would “spark a major wave of resistance.”

Speaking to Skai television on Thursday, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said that inciting students to close schools down marked a return to the Dark Ages.

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