Students to resist private degrees

University students yesterday said they planned to take legal action against a European Court of Justice ruling that requires Greece to grant full recognition to degrees obtained from private colleges. Following yesterday’s session of the senate of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), students from politically affiliated unions that have often been at loggerheads decided to put aside their differences and unite on this common grievance. «All factions, irrespective of stance, agreed to take action to ensure college degrees are not recognized and to safeguard state and free education,» NTUA student Ilias Kefalas told Kathimerini. «Our union will lead the way in efforts to avert the recognition of college degrees,» said NTUA rector Constantinos Moutzouris. The NTUA’s senate also said it would press the Education Ministry not to adopt the European Union ruling which would grant degrees issued by private colleges, most of which operate as franchises of foreign universities, the same status as those issued by public institutions. Students are planning a protest outside the ministry in Athens next Wednesday, while a march by students, who are also seeking additional funding for their sector, is scheduled for the following day. Students are also planning meetings in early November aimed at stepping up their protest action, possibly to coincide with the traditional November 17 demonstration marking the 1973 student uprising against the junta. It is likely that their action will include sit-ins at some university faculties. Professional groups and unions are also set to mount a legal challenge against the EU ruling being contested by the students. Many groups and unions have expressed reservations about the quality of education at private colleges. Lawyers and doctors fear that Greece’s adoption of the EU regulation would lead to a swelling of their ranks, which, they say, are already too full.

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