A combination of cutbacks and inadequate planning have left the country’s schools and universities in the lurch ahead of the beginning of the new academic year, Kathimerini understands.
The task of Education Minister Aristides Baltas to plug gaps – both in terms of funding and staffing – is likely to be a thankless one. Of the 4,000 recruitments permitted to the ministry, 1,500 have gone toward rehiring academics and administrative staff who had been put into a so-called mobility scheme in line with creditors’ demands. That means the ministry can hire an additional 2,500 staff but the recruitments will do little to remedy the problem of understaffing in the country’s education system, which had some 22,000 unfilled positions last September.
Another major problem is funding, and Baltas’s ministry has yet to submit applications for European Union subsidies, according to sources. In order to qualify for the funding, proposals for induction into the EU funding program must be submitted, and the deadline for this year’s applications expired last month. Sources at the ministry said the proposals would be submitted on Monday.
However, even if the proposals are approved, the process for the disbursement of funding is generally a lengthy one and there is no guarantee that the money will have arrived by September when the new academic year begins.