State tuition centers are far from adequate

State tuition centers started as a pilot scheme in the 1997-1998 school year to help students, reduce the number dropping out of school and relieve parents of extra tuition fees. Though additional courses were started in schools, initial hopes have been dashed. Students say the courses are not run, private tuition centers are flourishing and there are large delays in teachers’ payments. Courses start late and are taught by teachers on hourly contracts who have not secured a post elsewhere. Education Ministry section head Anthi Peroikou said that up to the end of November, 875 of the 1,188 high schools had additional courses for study support (73.7 percent of the total) but data for students attending the courses were not available. In 2006-2007 additional courses were created in 97 percent of high schools whereas 21,487 students participated in courses run in junior high schools. Students attend the courses in junior high after the first term, once marks have been given for that term. A study titled «Greek Schools at the Dawn of the 21st Century» revealed that the courses exist but attendance is low. Only 19.8 percent of the high school students questioned said they attended a course. Those who did not attend said the courses offered nothing and the times were unsuitable. However, the teachers questioned said they had confidence in state tuition centers, if implemented appropriately, and that the courses improved student performance (85.1 percent). Teachers with a permanent school post who take part in the programs receive 15.20 euros an hour whereas teachers on fixed-term contracts are paid 11 euros an hour plus other benefits. However payment is delayed until supporting documents are approved. As the hours taught in state tuition centers count as points required by teachers wanting to work in state education, applicants fight for the posts and there have been complaints about a lack of transparency in recruitment.