The Greek education system has many teachers who are not spending enough hours in the classroom, Education Minister Nikos Filis told a parliamentary committee Tuesday, while vowing to tackle the problem.
Filis told the MPs that teachers spend some 13,500 hours a year doing secretarial work and that there are 2,000 classes with less than 10 pupils.
“We have many gaps, bogus gaps: There are teachers who clock up 10 hours, eight hours, 15 hours, which is well below their normal timetable,” said the minister. “Can there be any reform of schools if we hide this reality?”
Filis questioned why previous education officials (he was appointed to the post in September) did not pinpoint the problem and take action. He suggested that teachers and principals covered up the problem out of a sense of “solidarity.”
“This is not solidarity,” said Filis. “In my view it is the confirmation that there is a patron-client relationship in the education sector.”
The minister, however, said he is sticking to his goal of hiring 20,000 teaching staff by 2018.
“However many appointments we make, and they are necessary, the education system will resemble a bottomless barrel if we do not confront the chronic problems in schools that have to do with the made-up shortages, not the real ones,” he told the committee.
Sources also said Tuesday that the university entrance exams will probably start on Monday, May 16 this year. Schools are due to reopen for the summer term on May 9, a week after Greek Orthodox Easter.