Ministry plans to hire more teachers

An extra 2,000 teachers will be hired as substitutes to cover shortages in primary and secondary education, the government announced yesterday, as it also revealed that it would not be continuing a controversial work experience scheme in the public sector. Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou revealed that despite Greece’s economic difficulties, she had agreed with her ministerial counterparts that money would be made available to hire these part-time teachers in various parts of the country. PASOK plans to spend an extra 1 billion euros on education over the next year and some of this will go toward plugging teaching gaps at schools. Diamantopoulou also stated the government’s intent to transform nurseries and primary schools so that they remain open all day rather than just during certain parts of the day. The minister said that this would happen over the course of PASOK’s four-year term. On the issue of private colleges, which operate in Greece as franchises of foreign universities, Diamantopoulou said she would shortly be in contact with the European Commission to discuss ways that would allow the Greek state to issue licenses for these institutions. Meanwhile, the government made it known yesterday that it would not be renewing the short-term contracts of some 12,000 people who have been hired for work experience in the public sector. The scheme, known by its French title «Stage,» was at the center of a dispute between PASOK and New Democracy, who the Socialists accused of using the system to find jobs for the children of party supporters. «We will not be renewing the Stage contracts,» said government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis. «We will hold talks to discuss what will be happening to the people affected by this decision.»