New rules for universities

A new law which will give universities greater autonomy while introducing stricter rules for students will likely be unveiled in a few days by the Education Ministry after the Inner Cabinet debates the issue today, sources told Sunday’s Kathimerini. The long-awaited bill seeks to make eight key changes to the current framework for universities as the government prepares the ground for its constitutional reform which will lead to private institutions competing with state-funded colleges. Ministry sources told Sunday’s Kathimerini that the new law aims to give universities greater independence to govern themselves. It aims to do this by allowing each institution to draw up a four-year budget and its own operating regulations. It will also give each department the power to decide which subjects will be compulsory for students. Currently, the Education Ministry has a big say in how universities are run. If passed, the draft law will also place a limit on the time students can take to complete their degrees. Although the provisions have been watered down, students will be given double their course’s minimum length to complete their studies. So, a student on a four-year degree will have to finish his or her studies within eight years. The government has met the most opposition in its attempt to reform the asylum law, which prevents police from entering university campuses. Under the proposed law, the university’s council will be able to vote by majority decision whether to allow officers onto the grounds as opposed to current regulations which require a unanimous decision, including the vote of the student representative. The Inner Cabinet is due to meet this morning to discuss the details of the reforms but the matter will also concern PASOK, which experienced internal unrest last week over the issue of university immunity.