Greek opposition leaden repeats he’ll back private colleges in Greece

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Greek opposition leaden repeats he’ll back private colleges in GreeceGreece is among the very few countries in the developed world where the state prohibits non-state universities and colleges

ATHENS – Main opposition New Democracy party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis repeated that if he comes to power that he’d push to change Greece’s Constitution to  non-profit, non-state universities to operate in the country.

Currently, Article 16 of the Greek constitution gives the state a monopoly on higher education, with private colleges not accredited as such but considered commercial businesses. Only tertiary vocational schools are recognized by the Greek state.

Greece is among the very few countries in the developed world where the state prohibits non-state universities and colleges. Even graduates of prestigious international schools outside the country aren’t allowed to apply for state jobs.

Mitsotakis spoke from Thessaloniki, where he toured the ongoing international trade fair that is annually held every September in the city.

“I have a vision for Thessaloniki and northern Greece: to act as a pole that attracts high technology and innovation, one that will be globally competitive… We have the comparative advantages to achieve this .. we need universities that promote applied research; ones that will be unburdened institutionally, and face no obstacles in their ties to production and the real market,” he said, the business newspaper Naftemporiki reported.

Under Greece’s higher education system, graduated high school students compete for available openings at various public universities and can be admitted even if they fail the entrance exams, can stay in college until they become pensioners, don’t have to graduate or even attend class in many instances.

Granting university status to private institutions

Last year, Mitsotakis said in Parliament that no discussion “on higher education can be made if change of Article 16 of the Constitution is not put at the heart of it,” although his party, under different leaders then in power, made no move to change it.

Many influential members of the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA, which holds 144 of the 153 seats in Greece’s governing coalition, are university professors themselves, according to the news site The Pie, which noted their stance is expressed in a party declaration issued on the anniversary of the anti-fascist student uprising of 1974, defending Greece’s public universities as “strongholds of democracy.”

A poll conducted late last year for the Athens Chamber of Commerce found 49% of respondents to be in favor of granting university status to private institutions with degrees equivalent to those of their public counterparts.

There are 28 private institutions, or colleges, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in Greece.

To get around the barrier of Article 16, these colleges are run as faculties or franchises of foreign universities, or their degrees are validated by foreign accreditation agencies such as UK NARIC or the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) based in Massachusetts, the site reported.

Twenty-two of these colleges, such as the British Hellenic College and the Business College of Athens, are predominantly affiliated with UK universities, while six are American, the American College of Greece being the largest in Greece and the oldest American college in Europe. French, Belgian and Swiss universities are also active in the region in a similar way.

Around 15,000 students attend these private colleges in Greece, 11,000 of whom are at British affiliated colleges, according to the UK’s Quality Assurance Agency.

There are no comprehensive data available on the proportion of international students at these institutions, but according numbers given on the websites of the ACG and the Hellenic American College, around 20-25% of students are non-Greek nationals – significantly more than the 2.5% at public universities, it was reported.

Read more here.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons Copyright: enikoslive License: CC-BY-SA

Source: thenationalherald.com

 

 

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