Short­age of nurs­ery school places

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Fam­i­lies liv­ing in cen­tral Athens who want to send their chil­dren to mu­nic­i­pal nurs­ery schools from Septem­ber are fac­ing a strug­gle be­cause of dwin­dling fund­ing and re­sources.

The City of Athens coun­cil met this week to dis­cuss the prob­lem af­ter it emerged that there have been 6,807 ap­pli­ca­tions for just 5,402 places. The most se­vere over­sub­scrip­tion is in the neigh­bor­hoods of Se­po­lia, Kato Patis­sia and At­tiki Square, where 1,420 chil­dren have ap­plied for 918 places.

Mu­nic­i­pal nurs­ery schools of­ten have to draw lots to de­cide which chil­dren to ac­cept, leav­ing the par­ents of those who are omit­ted to search for places at pri­vate kinder­gartens, which charge up­ward of 4,000 eu­ros a year.

The short­ages could be ex­ac­er­bated in a few months due to the un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing the fu­ture of nurs­ery school teach­ers who have been hired on fixed-term con­tracts. The gov­ern­ment is not re­new­ing these deals as part of its wider cuts to pub­lic spend­ing but a court has ruled that the mu­nic­i­pal em­ploy­ees should be kept on un­til De­cem­ber when it will give a fi­nal judg­ment on whether the ter­mi­na­tion of their con­tracts is legal.

About a third of the nurs­ery school teach­ers and at­ten­dants in the City of Athens, who to­tal some

of­ten 1,200 em­ploy­ees, are on fixed-term deals. Their pos­si­ble de­par­ture in De­cem­ber would clearly cre­ate a siz­able short­age in teach­ing per­son­nel.

Mean­while, Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Anna Dia­man­topoulou is set to un­veil to­mor­row her pro­pos­als for the over­haul of Greece’s ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor. Among the key re­forms will be the cre­at­ing of a nine-or 15-mem­ber coun­cil made up of each in­sti­tu­tion’s pro­fes­sors, one stu­dent rep­re­sen­ta­tive and some­one who has no links to the univer­sity. The coun­cil will be re­spon­si­ble for ad­min­is­tra­tive mat­ters, in­clud­ing check­ing the in­sti­tu­tion’s fi­nances, and for elect­ing a rec­tor.

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