The leader of the Opposition Alexis Tsipras attended an event on the consequences of the suspensions on public universities and society which was organized by the unions of teaching and administrative staff of the University of Athens and the National Technical School of Athens at the main hall at Propylaea.
The Rector of the University of Athens Theodosis Pelegrinis explained that “we do not want to waste the semester” and “the university will continue to train top class scientists even if the budget was reduced by 60%”. The Vice Rector of the NTUA Moropoulou challenged criticism on the quality of studies: “the NTUA is amongst the top ten research institutes of Europe. Every euro invested in the Technical University produced another four”.
The Rector of the University of Thessaloniki Mylopoulos stated that “in Greece we have 3.6 administrative employees per student. In Germany that number is about 11.5” and openly questioned the government rational behind its evaluation criteria that resulted in 1,249 employees facing suspension.
The SYRIZA president then took the stand and offered his support against the “infuriating” suspension measure which “condemns the public University to death”. Mr. Tsipras accused the government and troika of speculation and subverting public education in favor of private institutions.
The opposition leader expressed his fear that the government “is openly working towards imposing tuition fees, starting from postgraduates studies” and as such, will undergo a privatization process that will “degrade the quality of studies and provide services at a high cost” in order to “ensure what is referred to as ‘competition’ in the private sector”.
Mr. Tsipras noted that “over here the programs and measures are only to fail and destroy. They do not provide solutions for the budget problem, the growth problem or the debt problem”, while adding that “this hopeless and absurd policy must end now”.
Former Rector and ANEL representative Markatos estimated that “what comes next is obvious; a 70% reduction in teaching staff. The cardiologist will be teaching urology…”. DIMAR’s Maria Repousi, who was booed by the audience, asserted that while her party does not agree with the government suspensions, the Universities must find a way to operate irrespective of the staff strikes.
It is worth noting that while the event at Propylaea was under way, the Ministry of Education had not yet opened the website where administrative staff members are meant to submit their details, despite the fact that the deadline is the forthcoming Saturday.