Education Ministry ‘Tidies’ Greek Language Schools Abroad


The Ministry of Education is forging ahead with changes to Greek language teaching abroad in an effort to find ways to cut back funds in this sector. Deputy Minister Theodosis Pelegrinis is continuing negotiations for the construction of a school in Munich for more than 750 Greek students.

New legislation is pushing for restrictions in the number of Greek teachers filling positions at such schools abroad, meaning that many educators will be forced to return to Greece. There will also be  changes for coordinators and heads of schools. The goal is to economize funds (from 15,000-20,000 euros per year for every teacher) as the terms of payment, use of personnel at Greek schools and other changes are to be enforced.

Kathimerini reports that teaching contracts abroad will be on a three-year basis, however there will be the chance for two-year extensions. The ministry hopes for educators to return to Greece to cover the gaps in Greek schools that are short of 800 teachers.

There are reactions from parents and teachers abroad. The Greek school at Giessen, Germany, that has been operating in its current state since 2012 has been one of those to react against the new plans. Prior to 2010 it operated  as a school for teaching Greek as a mother tongue with funding from the Ministry of Education. The economic crisis, however, resulted in cutbacks to schools in cities with under 100 Greek students.

In Giessen, many parents turned to the school review board and created a Parents and Guardians Association for the promotion of Modern Greek. Supported by the Municipality and Council of Foreigners of Giessen as well as the local education review board, teacher Dora Dimitroulia is calling for bilateral programs to be created in the EU for the promotion of native languages to immigrants and their children regardless of financial difficulties.