General News: School year starts on Monday, but without books

Monday marks the start of the new school year for some 1.3 million children and 180,000 teachers in the Greek school system, as well as the launch of the education ministry's 'New School' initiatives.
For most parents, children and teachers, however, the launch of the new system and the changes to the curriculum will be overshadowed by the lack of the set school textbooks, which for the first time in many years will not be ready to be distributed to students at the start of the year.
Several schools are expected to face major shortages as the books failed to be printed on time, after the process became mired in Greece's labyrinthine legal system.
Islands and remote regions near the borders are the areas expected to be best supplied with the required books, receiving 85 percent of the needed books, while the ministry hopes to cover the shortages for the main body of books within a few days in most areas.
 Administrative Reform Minister Dimitris Reppas, whose ministry is in charge of the national printing office, has ordered the printing over the weekend of 50,000 copies of a book containing the first 40 pages of the books in five subjects for the 3rd year of highschool.
In the meantime, students will be issued with DVDs containing all the information in the school books that students can download on their computers, as well as photocopies in the first few days.
The ministry has blamed the delay on the Council of State, Greece's supreme administrative court, which it said took 49 days longer than the time allowed by law to issue a decision concerning a tender for the purchase of paper. The final decision came out at the end of August, leaving insufficient time for the books to be printed.
The ministry has also invited students from previous years to return their old books so that these can be used by children in lower classes.

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