Despite gov’t promises, academics set to strike

University teaching staff are expected to dive into another series of protests today against proposed tertiary reforms, despite the government’s promises this weekend that it would loosen its grip on higher education institutions and up their funding. Education Minister Marietta Giannakou told a meeting of deans in Athens on Saturday that the state will increase its funding to universities, though she did not elaborate on the details of such a move. She also said that universities will be given more autonomy on administrative issues and will be able to put together their own internal regulations. «Our role is to support the public university, a good university, which means a redistribution of income,» she said, without giving any further details. The conservative New Democracy government, which has come under fire for plans to introduce non-state universities, has also been criticized for keeping education spending low. Educators are calling on the government to increase spending in the sector to 5 percent of gross domestic product from about 3.5 percent currently. On Saturday, the education minister also agreed to publish the draft bill on the proposed reforms. But the news failed to affect plans by the Hellenic Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (POSDEP) to launch an indefinite strike as of today.

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