The school period 2015-2016 starts 6,500 teachers short in primary and secondary schools. However, Kiaou said that the education ministry has located funds to hire 19,000 auxiliary teachers on a temporary basis.
According to the caretaker minister, part of the funding comes from European Union programs. Athens has to expedite procedures for disbursement of those funds so that the schools will not operate without the auxiliary teachers for the first two weeks.
Also, the EU program is addressed to elective subjects of teaching and not mandatory learning. This means that certain core subject teacher positions will still remain vacant.
“The money is there for 7,000 [auxiliary] positions in the core program, but the shortfall comes to 13,500,” Kiaou told Kathimerini daily.
According to the report, efforts are made to transfer 2,600 fixed-contract educators from relatively well-staffed schools to others that are under-staffed. Also, the ministry is trying to bring in state-employed teachers working at Greek educational institutions abroad.
“In terms of what’s possible and given the country’s economic circumstances, we are on the right path,” Kiaou said.
Education unionists warned that there are dozens of schools around Greece, particularly in remote areas, that cannot open at all because they have no teaching staff. In Laconia region, school authorities have been petitioning for volunteer teachers to take on some of the workload.
Greece’s public schools have around 1.5 million students and 137,000 teachers. In the 2014-2015 period, schools opened 3,000 teachers short.