Bid to improve state education

Three of the country’s main party leaders spoke at a conference at the Zappeion Hall in Athens yesterday, marking the beginning of a cross-party dialogue to generate proposals on revitalizing Greece’s ailing state education system. Among the proposals put forward by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis for discussion were to give universities greater control over their finances and freedom in their long-term planning. For primary and secondary schools, he suggested a review of teaching material and methods as well as the introduction of more technological aids. The leaders of PASOK, George Papandreou, and Synaspismos, Alekos Alavanos, agreed to back the government in its reforms as long as its efforts were genuine and not designed to serve narrow political ends. A group of anarchists, who joined a student protest march for better higher education facilities and funding, set fire to a municipal police car and smashed four store windows on central Ermou Street. Police used tear gas to disperse the youths. No injuries or arrests were reported.