University reform plans disputed

Senior university academics have expressed concern about the government’s proposed reforms to the state university system, highlighting possible deviations from the constitution and a lack of the funding required to bring about much-needed changes. In a written statement issued at the conclusion of a summit of university rectors in the Cretan port of Rethymno, the academics noted that the proposals of Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou, who attended the meeting, «raised serious questions of constitutionality.» According to the statement, the best basis for debate about reform to Greek universities would be «the protection of universities’ independence along with the safeguarding of their public character.» Concluding, the rectors said they would submit their own counterproposals to the ministry. The Panhellenic Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (POSDEP) was less diplomatic. In a statement, the union said the ministry’s proposals «did not make the grade» and could not form the basis for dialogue. Many university students also oppose the proposed changes. Students demonstrated outside the venue where the rectors’ summit was being held in Rethymno on Saturday. A small group of the protesters clashed with police who fired tear gas to disperse them. The demonstration ended without major incident.

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