Minister declines to bend rules

The government will not allow universities to cut corners and will apply recently adopted reforms to tertiary education across the board, said Education Minister Evripidis Stylianidis yesterday. The conservatives are in the process of implementing university reforms in a bid to make the tertiary sector more efficient and competitive. «We must all assume our responsibilities. Each party must support its position directly and take on its responsibilities,» the minister told Skai Radio. «Apart from rights, there are also obligations in this country.» Stylianidis addressed a university rectors’ conference over the weekend. Among the changes that have been introduced is a new law giving students a reduced role in the decision-making process at universities and preventing them from having a major say in the election of rectors. Small groups of students have reacted to the changes by forcing their way into meetings of university officials and staging sit-in protests that have made it impossible for the institutions to function normally. Universities now have the legal support to stamp out such incidents, said Stylianidis. The Education Ministry also unveiled plans to increase the number of first-year students accepted at universities outside of Athens and Thessaloniki. «From this year, there will be an essential increase in the number of students accepted in regional universities and colleges and there will be a drop in those enrolled at central universities,» he added. In line with increasing student populations at regional universities, the ministry said it will up their funding over a four-year period.

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