Tertiary protests build up this week

University teachers and professors kicked off a weeklong strike yesterday against the government’s proposed tertiary reforms as students get ready for more protest action this week. The Hellenic Federation of University Teachers’ Association (POSDEP) said it will launch extensive weekly strike action and has not clarified when academics will return to the classroom. Teaching at universities has already been disrupted by student sit-ins at more than 300 departments across the country. The turmoil has led to the likely cancellation of the January and February exam period. Student groups said yesterday they have called for mass rallies on Thursday in Athens and Thessaloniki. Education Minister Marietta Giannakou said that she is displeased with the current situation in the academic community but admitted that there is little she can do about it. «I am not satisfied with what is going in (in universities) but I cannot influence them,» she said. On Saturday, Giannakou promised the university community more administrative freedom and financial support from the state. However, her promise did little to appease academics, many of whom ardently oppose the government’s wish to introduce non-state universities into Greece.