VAT could cause pupil ex­o­dus, say par­ents

Al­most one in four chil­dren seen leav­ing pri­vate schools if 23 pct levy ap­plied

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

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.

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