Ancient Greek to the rescue

In a bid to improve the much-maligned language skills of the country’s high school students, Education Minister Marietta Giannakou yesterday pressed for an increase in the number of hours dedicated to the teaching of Ancient Greek. She also proposed that a second foreign language be taught to the final classes of primary school. According to the proposal, which Giannakou submitted to the president of the ministry’s Pedagogical Institute, Michalis Papadopoulos, junior high school students would receive an extra hour in Ancient Greek per week, while senior high pupils would get two extra hours per week. Currently, all high school pupils get four hours of Ancient Greek classes per week. «The advantage of boosting existing knowledge of the Ancient Greek language in secondary education will be significant in the use of everyday language, as incorrect use of language, weakness in expression and poor vocabulary have become an everyday phenomenon,» Giannakou said. The implementation of Giannakou’s proposal will be carried out on the basis of a recommendation by the Pedagogical Institute. The aim is to introduce the extra classes during the last three months of the current academic year or otherwise postpone implementation for the 2005-2006 academic year. The minister’s proposal was welcomed by Ancient Greek teachers, who have long been lobbying for extra hours. «This will not only contribute to a better language level, but will also boost pupils cultural consciousness,» the head of the country’s union of Ancient Greek teachers, Christina Veikou, told Kathimerini. «In any case, right now there is a Europe-wide revival of classical languages.»