NEWS

Teachers, parents step up pressure over VAT on private schools

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Teachers at private schools and parents who pay for their children’s education stepped up their demands on Tuesday for the government to confirm that it has abandoned plans to impose a 23 percent value-added tax rate on the sector.

“We are certain that you will keep your promise and will move ahead with the abolition of VAT on private education,” said the association representing parents with children at private schools in a letter to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

The premier recently made a new pledge to abandon the tax plan but this means his government has to find alternative revenue-raising measures. It has not yet confirmed it has done so.

“We appreciate the need to find equivalent measures so there are no gaps in the state budget. But we are sure that as a parent yourself you understand no alternative measure can be as important as stability for our children,” the parents added in their letter.

The note was sent as the Federation of Private School Teachers (OIELE) sought to argue that the institutions at which they work are not just for rich Greeks, but also for ordinary Greek families.

OIELE referred to a study carried out on behalf of the Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), which showed that the vast majority of parents send their children to private creches and nursery schools, paying up to 3,800 euros per child per year.

The report also indicates that parents pay between 2,000 and 4,500 euros per year to send their children to private primary schools. Junior and high school costs between 2,500 and 4,800 euros per year.

“This destroys the myth that some people repeat about private schools being the privilege of the elite,” said OIELE.

“We believe the imposition of VAT on private schools is unfair because most of them cater to the average family.”