Facebook Group Calls Students to Participate in School Sit-ins

katalipseis-GreeceThe Greek Minister of Education Andreas Loverdos has reacted to the “sit-ins” of secondary school students throughout Greece. As the Greek Minister stated yesterday in his address to the Greek Parliament, he expressed major concerns on how missed school hours will be covered, suggesting that this may mean that the school year may be extended on holidays. He further expressed his dissatisfaction for sit-ins, saying that this development is only making this school year — that began with several difficulties — even harder.

It all started on Sunday, when an event invitation on Facebook under the title “Panhellenic Occupation, No to the new System” was posted. This post invited 194,500 students to participate in sit-ins, from which 45,315 replied “yes” and 6,501 said “maybe”. Moreover, a Facebook page has been created through which students are informed on the progress of their sit-ins.

There is a long tradition of school occupations in Greece. Since the end of the military dictatorship in the 1970s, students have frequently occupied their educational institutions in protest. There has been significant participation of pupils in these types of movements, culminating with a massive wave of school occupations this past fall. In particular, serious problems, such as the lack of books and  teaching personnel, inhibited everyday school life. Pupils responded through massive mobilizations that took the form of participation in assemblies, voting, demonstrations and school occupations. The spread of school occupations, in particular, was massive (there were over 700 occupied schools), and they lasted almost the entire fall-trimester

Hundreds of schools are currently occupied nationwide in protest sit-ins as of Monday morning, by secondary education students who are demonstrating against educational reforms, the exam topics pool, teacher and textbook shortages and problems with the school buildings.

According to official data, on the island of Crete, roughly 30 schools are occupied in the prefecture of Iraklio, while another 15 high schools are occupied in the prefecture of Lassithi. A number of schools are also occupied in Rethymno, while 19 of the 50 schools in Hania are also under student occupation.
Students in the prefectures of Achaia, Ilia and Aetoloakarnania in southern Greece, occupy roughly 100 schools corresponding to 30 percent of the schools operating in western Greece, while mobilizations are underway in schools in eastern Peloponnese.