Push made for cuts in education as merger scheme fails

Finance Ministry officials are pressing the Education Ministry to cut costs after it emerged that a program for merging university and technical college departments failed to save 68 million euros this year, in line with budget targets, Kathimerini has learned.

According to sources, Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras has sent two letters to Education Minister Andreas Loverdos – one in the middle of June shortly after the latter was installed in a cabinet reshuffle and the second in mid-August – to brief him about the problem and urge further cutbacks to rein in spending in the education sector.

A total of 49 faculties – eight belonging to universities and 41 to technical colleges – were found to employ fewer than the minimum of nine permanent professors required for a department to be considered autonomous. There are even a handful of departments that have been operating without any permanent professors at all, according to sources.

Finance Ministry officials told Kathimerini that there are no plans for a new “Athina” – referring to a streamlining scheme introduced by the previous Education Minister Constantinos Arvanitopoulos. But there is pressure for cutbacks. According to sources, cuts already have been made, including to the cost of lighting faculties and campuses.

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