History not thing of past for pupils

History will be one of the compulsory classes that will form the core of what senior high school students will study as of the next academic year, the Education Ministry said yesterday, thereby attempting to douse the reaction from some opposition parties to rumors that it would become a voluntary subject. Ancient and Modern Greek, mathematics, science, physical education, a foreign language and history will all be compulsory, according to the plans for the overhaul of the country’s high schools that the ministry is expected to unveil at the end of the month. According to plans seen by Kathimerini, the scheme, which is aimed at improving the standard of teaching and learning, will involve reducing the number of compulsory hours per week from 32 to 24 and increasing the number of hours spent on lessons the pupils choose from two to 10. It is also expected that students will spend at least three hours a week studying English. The government is attempting to alter the high school program so that it mirrors that of the International Baccalaureate. The suggestion earlier this week that history would become one of the optional subjects prompted strong reactions from New Democracy and the right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), which suggested that if the subject was not compulsory, pupils would not learn enough about Greece’s past. «The issue is not whether we will remove history from the list of compulsory lessons,» Deputy Education Ministry Evi Christofilopoulou told Kathimerini yesterday in response to the criticism of the government. «The issue is how we will make the teaching of the subject more attractive.»

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