Lecturers want to return to teaching

A second group of university lecturers opted to return to the classroom instead go on strike against the government’s controversial tertiary reforms, further splintering the bloc of academics who until recently had seemed largely united against reforms. Professors and lecturers from the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB) informed the Hellenic Federation of University Teachers’ Association (POSDEP) yesterday that they did not support proposals to hold a lengthy strike. They joined lecturers at the National Technical University of Athens who have also gone against the tide of industrial action to protest the proposed reforms. AUEB teachers also called for students to end their sit-in protests at universities and urged the government to publish as soon as possible a draft law on the reforms, which include the introduction of private universities in Greece. More than 330 university and technical college departments have been shut down by students protesting the reforms, which they fear will damage free post-secondary education, a longtime staple in the country. Protesting students and academics held a rally in central Athens yesterday. Some 3,000 people attended the gathering, which was marked by skirmishes between some protesters and riot police. No injuries or arrests were reported. Students plan to hold another rally in Athens next Friday.