Upheaval in education sector

There was more upheaval in the education sector yesterday as the heads of the country’s major technical colleges complained about the lack of funding and the Education Ministry’s general secretary resigned amid sharp criticism over her support of a new secondary school curriculum, in which history would no longer be a compulsory subject. Deputy Education Minister Yiannis Panaretos yesterday pledged to channel 3 million euros in state funding into the country’s two main technical colleges (TEI) in Athens and Thessaloniki. Panaretos said he recognized the problem with underfunding at the country’s two major TEIs and said the colleges would receive the cash «very soon.» Panaretos’s comments came a few hours after the heads of the institutions claimed that they were not financially equipped to accept the 2,000 students scheduled to start courses there this academic year. Also yesterday, Thaleia Dragona, the ministry’s general secretary, tendered her resignation, a move that had been widely anticipated due to her championing of a new, leaner secondary school curriculum in which history would be an optional subject. A program launched several years ago by Dragona, aimed at assimilating Turkish children in the northern region of Thrace by introducing special lessons for them at minority schools in the region, had also displeased many of the more conservative cadres within ruling PASOK. In another headache for the ministry, university rectors were said to be preparing a document with their counterproposals for university sector reform. The rectors had expressed serious reservations about the reforms proposed by Minister Anna Diamantopoulou during a summit at the Cretan port of Rethymno over the weekend. The academics are expected to present the ministry with their own proposals, during a summit scheduled to take place in Athens on December 10 and 11.

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