Education minister on implementing tertiary education reforms

In a press conference on Tuesday, Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou presented the time schedule for the tertiary education reforms contained in the omnibus bill recently passed by Parliament.
The minister also released a FAQ sheet with 50 questions and answers explaining the provisions of the new law, to be made available to all interested parties.
She stressed that the demands by various groups for changes to individual articles in the law were an "insult" to the Greek Parliament, which had voted in favour of the bill by a large majority.
Notwithstanding the minister's position, the university rectors' council has unanimously voted that some universities should file petitions with the Council of State, Greece's supreme administrative court, against articles that are deemed unconstitutional.
Diamantopoulou noted that she was at the disposal of any university, student union or academic for "civilised dialogue on the future of the institutions, so that the necessary clarifications can be made and we can go to the most efficient possible implementation of the law".
She noted that the bill was due to be published in the government gazette on Tuesday or Wednesday, after which it would be implemented as planned so that the new university Administrative Councils would be ready to take over fully in 2012.
Concerning the issue of university asylum, the minister stressed that this "was not the problem for Greek universities", adding that the academic community must itself prove that minorities would not be permitted to make decisions for everyone.
Asked about the numerous sit-in protests and occupation of university premises currently in progress, Diamantopoulou underlined that the government was determined to press ahead with the reforms, in spite of the opposition.
"Education is above all; if the classes are not held, they will take place at another time. The semester must begin in October, if not, then we will start at Christmas and if that is not enough, it will be lost," she said.
The minister dismissed much of the criticism against the new system as outright lies and denied claims that universities would be forced to cut the duration of course, not distribute textbooks or charge tuition fees for undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
Finally, she announced that a new system for getting into a university or technological educational institute will soon be ready to announce.

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