Ministry refutes plans to scrap model schools

The Education Ministry said on Friday that, contrary to previous statements, it does not have plans to shut down 60 experimental and model schools across the country.

“We refute rumors that the political leadership of the Education Ministry intends to scrap experimental and model schools,” the ministry said.

The government has backtracked from comments made in Parliament two weeks ago by Education Minister Aristides Baltas in which he said the coalition did not want to keep the institutions, suggesting that they are elitist.

However, a backlash from teachers, parents and the media appears to have convinced Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to halt any plans to do away with the schools, which are respected for the level of education they provide to pupils. An online petition to save the schools collected 3,000 signatures in one day.

The members of the board governing the schools tendered their resignation on Thursday after a meeting with Baltas. They 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 ministry denied afterwards that Baltas had used the term.

The board members were also angered by plans to scrap entrance examinations for the schools.