Week of teachers’ strikes to tax gov’t

Next week is expected to be a critical one for all levels of the education sector as primary school teachers decided yesterday to enter a sixth week of strikes over pay and secondary school teachers have voted to stage a three-day work stoppage from Tuesday. Wednesday is expected to be particularly taxing as teachers and students from all levels of the education sector join a protest rally in Athens while university staff stage a 24-hour strike and the civil servants’ union ADEDY holds a four-hour work stoppage from 11 a.m. A parliamentary debate about changing Article 16 of the Constitution to allow the creation of private universities, had also been slated for Wednesday but was postponed yesterday after an appeal by PASOK. The opposition had remarked that the parliamentary agenda was already full but there was speculation that the move was fueled by the party’s reluctance to take a stance on the controversial issue. Secondary school pupils yesterday staged sit-ins at 801 schools to back teachers’ calls for more state funding, the Athens students’ union said. Meanwhile, Education Minister Marietta Giannakou reiterated the government’s firm stance against teachers’ strikes which, she has said, have been incited by opposition parties. «Education policy should not be driven by party politics but by a more scientific approach,» Giannakou said. According to her ministry, the highest level of participation in teacher strikes last week was 25.55 percent on Wednesday. Teachers had quoted a significantly higher figure.