Protests grow as elections approach

The number of university faculties across Greece presently shut down due to sit-ins increased to 15 yesterday, from 10 on Thursday, as students express their opposition to next week’s scheduled elections for rectors. The elections will be held in the framework of a recently passed law introduced by the Education Ministry that has caused a split in the university community. The first elections will take place at the University of Crete on Tuesday, to be followed by the University of Thessaly. However, authorities are even considering the possibility of postponing the elections in order to prevent any violence breaking out among student groups affiliated with different political parties. In parallel with the sit-ins, demonstrations have also been planned for central Athens on both Wednesday and Friday. The students want to prevent the elections from taking place as they are opposed to a number of changes being introduced regarding the running of universities. The conservative government has recently introduced a series of controversial reforms in the tertiary sector in an attempt to make it more efficient and competitive on an international level. Critics argue that the measures are paving the way for more students to be enrolled into costly private tertiary level institutions.