Moonlighting teachers probed

The Supreme Court prosecutor has ordered a series of preliminary investigations to clarify a discrepancy between the more than 400 million euros declared by families for their children’s extracurricular lessons and the fees declared by teachers at private tuition colleges. Official figures show that families pay 410.6 million euros per year for their children’s extra lessons. And most of these lessons are allegedly taught by teachers with full-time posts at state schools, of whom there are 145,287, not by the 70,000 «non-appointed» teachers. This is allegedly happening despite a law that forbids full-time state schoolteachers from giving private lessons, with penalties ranging from a three-month dock in pay to the termination of a job contract. However, it is believed that tens of thousands of teachers are offering private lessons and omitting to declare the fees they receive, creating a big «black hole» in the state’s tax revenues. Preliminary probes into these illegal activities have already got under way in some towns, such as Larissa and Patras, where school leavers have been questioned. More probes are to begin in due course. Meanwhile, teachers are complaining about the action, claiming that they need to offer lessons in order to boost their low incomes. Grigoris Kalomiris, president of the State High School Teachers’ Federation (OLME), condemned the practice of teachers breaking the law by giving private lessons to pupils but suggested that many were obliged to resort to such tactics. «It is unacceptable for colleagues to be doing a second job. But they have to feed their families, irrespective of what the law says,» he said. However, Kalomiris suggested that vested interests might be behind the action. «Perhaps the judiciary is operating in this way in order to serve the interests of (private) cramming schools,» he said. Research shows that many pupils prefer to take private lessons with their schoolteachers in the hope of being rewarded with improved grades.

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