University reform to be prepared over two years

The government plans to take between 18 months and two years to prepare legislation on tertiary education reforms, it was revealed on Monday.

Education Minister Aristides Baltas told university rectors that the government wants to take its time to prepare the draft law so that it can consult extensively with those involved. Baltas suggested to a meeting of rectors on Monday that postgraduate, as well as undergraduate, programs should be free of charge. However, rectors advised him against such a move.

“Thanks to the revenues from postgraduate programs, we can spend money on research and keep excellent young academics, who under different circumstances would be unemployed or emigrating,” said the rector of Crete’s Technical University, Vassilis Digalakis.

“Also, by using these tuition fees we can attract to Greek universities important academics from abroad,” he added.

Baltas did not commit to extra funding for tertiary institutions, whose budgets are in deficit. However, the minister did say that he wants to see rules barring students who fail to finish their courses within two years of their regular length being barred from attending university.

Baltas suggested that a new system by which universities would sign “honor contracts” with so-called “eternal students” would replace the current regulations.