Private schools are recording losses, and approximately 4,000 students have left them due to the inability of their parents to pay tuition. At the same time teachers in private schools have seen their wages reduced up to 40% since last month, as the owners are threatening to shut down schools. The crisis, however, brought back the "notebook calculators" even in private schools, as many parents seek additional time from schooladministrations to pay tuition. There are quite a few parents who seek the reduction of fees in order to be consistent and not take their children away from the schools.
However, the education ministry seems determined to make changes in private education with a bill it is preparing by studying the possibility to give private owners the ability to proceed as they wish with the programs of Foreign Languages and Informatics, regardless of the program in public schools. The deputy minister of education, Evi Christophilopoulou, is likely to choose this solution for private schools, as it favors the recruitment of teachers. Deputy education minister Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos met with a delegation of the Association of Founders of Greek Private Schools. Among other things, they discussed the issue of the new payroll.
According to the Association, the reduction in the registrations of students came to an average of 5%, with the larger percentages occurring in the lyceum ranks. Letters arrive daily at the ministry of education from private schools that are unable to continue and are threatening to lock down if they don’t proceed to salary reductions.
On the other hand, and according to the president of private teachers Michalis Kouroutos, teachers indicate that their salaries should not be equated to the wages of civil servants, considering the cuts as illegal. As Kouroutos says, wages in private education increased by 1% -3% from 2004 to 2010, in line with the increases of public servants.
In contrast, tuition at private schools has increased from 40% to 150%, after being deregulated by Sioufas’ law, while tuition has remained the same in the last two years, by decision of the department of commerce. "Not all schools are moving at the same speed, as there are schools that keep their students, while others are counting losses."
The chairman of the Association of Founders of Greek Private Schools, Thanasis Zahopoulos, notes that many private schools did not implement the public education reduction but were limited to a 10% cut, in cases where schools do not have a problem. According to reports, 220 private schools are operating throughout the country this year.
Middle-class parents, even businessmen who are not doing so well, are unable to send their children to private schools. So far, 6 private primary and secondary schools across the country have shut down. In order to save about 800 euros, several parents cut the expense of the school bus by driving their kids to school themselves.