Universities to get own accountants?

The finances of the country’s universities will soon be handled by professional managers, according to Education Ministry reforms aimed at curbing the mismanagement of funds which were outlined to Kathimerini yesterday. A system of open competition, similar to the one used to recruit civil servants, would be used to hire the technocrats, whose activities would be overseen by the university senate, sources told Kathimerini. Apart from ensuring the transparent management of finances, the role of the hired professionals would be to liberate deans from the time-consuming task of supervising university funds and allow them to spend more time on their core administrative role. The planned reforms were drafted on the basis of suggestions from university professors, according to the sources, who noted that government and university officials have clashed over financing in the past. Also foreseen is the redistribution of university entrants to technical colleges (TEIs) around the country from next year when minimum marks for university entry are set to increase. The move, requested by TEI directors, is aimed at preventing colleges, especially those outside Athens and Thessaloniki, from ending up with far too few students. The ministry also plans to conduct inspections on franchises of foreign universities based in Greece to ensure they are meeting the same standards as the «mother» institution. The initiative to crack down on the quality of teaching at foreign colleges followed Thursday’s decision by the European Commission to recognize degrees from these franchises. Meanwhile, a report made public yesterday pointed to an ongoing brain drain from Greece’s education sector. Almost as many Greeks are earning their doctorates at foreign universities as at Greek institutions, according to the report prepared by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).