False start in degree talks

Discord reared its head again in the higher-education sector yesterday, as scheduled talks about the professional rights of engineering graduates stalled when leaders of technical universities and colleges pulled out. The meeting was to be chaired by Yiannis Alavanos, the president of the Technical Chamber of Greece, which is the professional union for engineers, and was to include the dean of the prestigious National Technical University of Athens, Constantinos Moutzouris. But talks were canceled when the leaders of technical universities and colleges (TEI and TEE) failed to show, saying they had expected an informal discussion rather than binding negotiations. TEI officials, who have been lobbying for their college degrees to afford the same professional rights as those of universities, have been irked by comments by Alavanos that TEI and university degrees should not be equal. Alavanos also has objected to European Union law obliging Greece to grant full recognition to graduates of foreign colleges, most of which operate as franchises of foreign universities.