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General News: Government announces overhaul of Greek-language teaching abroad

Δημοσίευση 25 Ιανουαρίου 2011, 09:54 / Ανανεώθηκε 27 Ιουνίου 2013, 14:55
General News: Government announces overhaul  of Greek-language teaching abroad
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Alternate Education Minister Fofi Gennimata on Monday announced plans to radically overhaul the current system for state-assisted teaching of the Greek language abroad, whose cost to had jumped by 22 million euro between 2004 and 2009. The Greek state currently funds the teaching of Greek in 72 countries, 57 of which have Greek Studies departments at university level.

Alternate Education Minister Fofi Gennimata on Monday announced plans to radically overhaul the current system for state-assisted teaching of the Greek language abroad, whose cost to had jumped by 22 million euro between 2004 and 2009. The Greek state currently funds the teaching of Greek in 72 countries, 57 of which have Greek Studies departments at university level.

During an education ministry press conference, Gennimata said that an outline of the government proposals would be unveiled for the start of public dialogue in early March, leading to a draft bill to rationalise both funding and the detachment of teachers abroad in May. She stressed that there would be no surprise measures during the coming school year, since there was provision for a transitional period.

The proposed dialogue on a system to support the teaching and learning of Greek in foreign countries will focus on 10 main areas. These will include assessment of teaching, administrative reorganisation of Greek-expatriate schools, greater transparency, cooperation between expatriate communities and the teachers sent from Greece, promoting forms of Greek-language education that are part of the educational system of the host-country, developing cultural centres to promote Greek culture, social networking, developing the cross-cultural identity of expatriates, developing pre-school programmes and boosting Greek studies and research at foreign universities.

Gennimata also referred extensively to the problems with the current system, especially emphasising the way that clientist politics had dominated the appointment of teachers abroad, many of whom were not actually qualified to teach language courses but specialised in subjects such as music, art or sports. Others, meanwhile, had an inadequate grasp of the language used in the host-country.

She also highlighted the very high cost of the system, noting the payroll cost for teachers detached abroad had risen from 38 million euro for 1,650 teachers in 2004 to 46 million euro for 2,350 teachers in 2009. After factoring in the additional cost of supply teachers to replace those sent abroad, the total additional cost to the state rose to 22 million euro, she claimed.

The minister stressed problems such as inability to effectively monitor the running of schools abroad, leading to abuses of public money, or the fact that Greek-language schools often did not grant qualifications equivalent to those of the host-country and their students were only able to apply to universities in Greece in a special category.

Also at the press conference was Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou, who answered questions about suggested mergers of small, remote schools and emphasised that these would be based solely on educational criteria.

She also commented on the suspension of school sports competitions, saying that this was temporary in view of a complete overhaul of the way that sports will be taught in schools and that Technological Educational Institutes forced to close due to financial problems had received cash injections and were now operating as usual.