The second pan-educational demonstration within a period of four days took place in downtown Athens, Greece, earlier today, starting at 12:00 pm from the city’s University Propylaea, with the participation of more than 1,500 secondary school students and teachers. The demonstration was the students’ response to government plans regarding the “new school” bill, which, amongst others, includes drastic changes to the exams process, the merging of schools, the exam topics pool, and teachers’ and textbooks’ shortages.
The mobilizations started on Monday, when hundreds of secondary schools across the country were occupied by its students in protest sit-ins, who also demonstrated against the controversial education reforms in a nationwide scale. The Education Ministry estimated earlier this week that some 500 schools were under occupation. According to official data, the number has dropped on Tuesday to about 350, while students raised the number to Monday’s level.
Today’s demonstration ended in front of the Greek Parliament, where protesters sent a clear message that they do not intent to back up or give in to Education Minister Andreas Loverdos’ threats, who recently announced measures against the occupations. Earlier this week, Supreme Court prosecutor Efterpi Koutzamani asked prosecutors across the country to act in order to ensure that public schools are not damaged during students’ sit-ins, although Loverdos later denied he requested the judicial initiative.
Amongst others, the Education Minister underlined that the school hours will not be lost and that pupils will have to go to school some Saturdays to replenish lost days. If need be, Christmas holidays will be shortened and students may also miss the traditional spring-time five-day excursion. At the same time, Loverdos requested the Greek Police Electronic Crime Unit to investigate who was behind the “Panhellenic Occupation, No to the new System” Facebook page, through which the sit-ins were organized. The page was inactive yesterday but was restored today.
The Secondary pupils demonstration was followed by another, with the participation of University students and personnel at 3:00 pm.