Staff crisis hits nurseries

Hit by the financial crisis, many of the country's state-run nursery day care centers are facing staff shortages while the number of children on waiting lists is growing, officials warn.

In an interview with Skai on Tuesday, president of the Confederation of Greek Municipalities (KEDE) Costas Askounis said that state funding for the country's municipalities had been seriously reduced while the number of applications was rising. At the same time, he said, parents of children attending nurseries only pay a symbolic amount in fees.

Staff shortages are most acute at the nurseries of central Athens, Galatsi, Nea Ionia, Nea Philadelphia, Maroussi, Vyronas, Drapetsona, Kallithea, Peristeri, Dafni and Zografou.

“The municipality of Galatsi cannot meet some two thirds of the applications it receives,” mayor Kyriakos Tsiros told Skai on Tuesday.

Askounis said he had raised the issue with the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Administrative Reform, pressing for a renewal of staff contracts. Interior Minister Evripidis Stilianidis was expected to meet with KEDE representatives to discuss the issue later on Tuesday.

A solution should be reached ahead of September 1, a few days before the beginning of school season, “or many kids could be left without a place [in a nursery],” Askounis warned. 

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