Shortage of free preschool places to hit thousands


Local officials have warned that thousands of parents hoping to place their children in preschool come September will have to be turned away because there simply aren’t enough places.

Last year, some 75,000 children gained places at nursery schools run by local authorities and funded by a central government program. There had been applications for more than 112,000 children.

This year, local authorities expect that economic difficulties will drive the applications to more than 120,000 even though there are no extra places on offer.

“If steps are not taken immediately, there will be tens of thousands of children that will not have a place at preschool because their parents cannot pay [private] fees,” Simos Daniilidis, the mayor of Sykies in Thessaloniki, told Kathimerini.