VAT could cause pupil exodus, say parents
Almost one in four children seen leaving private schools if 23 pct levy applied
There are fears that almost a quarter of the 85,000 pupils at private schools in Greece could leave if the government does not scrap plans to impose a 23 percent value-added tax rate on non-state education.
The head of the coordinating committee for parents who send their children to private schools, Ioakim Kallivrousis, told Kathimerini yesterday that there are estimates as many as 20,000 children will be withdrawn from their schools if VAT is added to their education fees. He did not give details about how the calculation was made.
Kallivrousis’s comments came as Education Minister Nikos Filis failed to clarify whether the government would abandon the measure, as it had promised before the September 20 elections.
“It is an issue we want to approach from the perspective of finding alternative measures,” he said in reference to the government’s desire to replace some of the bailout terms with different proposals. “We know that the 23 percent VAT rate will not be a burden for our welloff fellow citizens but for workingclass families who send their children to private tuition classes.”
However, Filis suggested that the government’s chances of finding alternative measures are slim. “If we crack four or five big tax evasion cases, we can find the revenues needed not to impose VAT on schools,” he said.
There are 239 private schools in Greece, employing around 30,000 people – 10,000 teachers and 20,000 administrative staff.