Board of model schools resigns in disagreement with minister

The members of the board governing Greece’s 60 experimental and model schools (DEPPS) tendered their resignation Thursday after a meeting with Education Minister Aristides Baltas, who has pledged to scrap entry examinations for the institutions.

The board members said they felt that Baltas’s behavior was insulting and took offense at his describing the way that the schools operate as “Hitler-like.”

The Education Ministry later denied that Baltas made any comment suggesting that the principle of requiring children who go to experimental and model schools to first pass exams was fascist-like. The board members who attended the meeting insisted that the minister did refer to “Hitler-like” practices but later admitted that he had been exaggerating.

The government has suggested that requiring children to be tested before they can gain a place at the schools, which are respected for their academic achievements, is elitist. Baltas claimed a few days that the pursuit of excellence was driven by a “warped logic.”

New Democracy accused the government of trying to “demolish institutions that have produced results over time.”

“The board has worked without resources or financial reward for the last four years,” said the DEPPS members in a statement. “Its only goal was to create a network of 60 schools that serve as an example for practices in the primary and secondary education sector.”

The outgoing DEPPS representatives are expected to hold a news conference next week to give more details about their disagreement with the minister’s plans to change the way the schools operate.