Education International
Education International

Greece: Teachers’ ongoing strike to protest attacks on public education

published 23 September 2013 updated 26 September 2013

Greek teachers have been on strike since 16 September in a campaign to have their demands met by public authorities. After a five–days rolling strike, the general assembly of OLME (Greek Federation of Secondary Education State School Teachers) called on educators to follow the strike action until 24 September.

Dramatic situation in public schools impacting the quality of education

Teachers and education staff in Greece are faced with a dramatic situation in public schools:

• There are 16,000 fewer teachers in secondary education, a 20 per cent reduction since June

• Over 100 Vocational Education Schools are closing down

• 2,500 Vocational Education Teachers are being suspended, just one step before dismissal

• In 2009, there was 33 per cent reduction of spending on education which is expected to reach 472 per cent in 2016

• There is a compulsory transfer of 5,000 teachers to primary education and administration posts

• The government has passed a new law on education without a dialogue establishing a harsh,examination-centred system in all forms/grades of upper secondary education forcing students to seek private tuition outside school and leading to school dropouts.

EI support

On 19-20 September, the Director of the EI region, the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE), Martin Rømer, went to Athens to support Greek colleagues.

This followed a statement issued by ETUCE on 18 September entitled “Greek education system on the brink of collapse”. In it, ETUCE expressed its grave concern over dramatic developments in Greece.

“By 2016, education spending will have been cut by 47 per cent,” the document condemns.

The ETUCE also calls on the government of Greece to improve social dialogue in the education sector. “At present, provisions are passed without proper consultation with social partners. This harsh and authoritarian approach cannot continue.”

The ETUCE is protesting against the surge in privatisation in vocational education in Greece and reminds the Greek government that free, high quality public education with equal access is the most effective path towards a prosperous society.

EI calls on all member organisations to actively show their solidarity with Greek educators.

OLME video explaining the strike: