Mr. Pierrakakis expressed the intention to make Greece a Regional Education Center
“Flagship” is the public university. We are increasing its funding through the Recovery Fund, de-bureaucratizing the public university, internationalizing it, and at the same time solving the issue of the state monopoly together”, pointed out the Minister of Education Kyriakos Pierrakakis, speaking to ERT regarding the ongoing reform in higher education and the non- state universities.
In particular, to the question why he believes that higher education will be upgraded by the operation of non-state higher educational institutions, he answered as follows:
“First, Greece is probably the only country that does not have non-state universities. As a matter of fact around the world at the moment this has been resolved. But this does not say anything in itself.
The second parameter has to do with what the state is in the field. We have 40,000 Greek students abroad. This number in absolute numbers is greater than the corresponding number of the Spanish or the English. Portugal, which has a comparable population, has far fewer, about a quarter. So this says something about our system in general. So here is not a strategy for non-state universities only. There is a strategy for universities.
“To make Greece a Regional Education Center”
“Flagship” is the public university. We are increasing its funding through the Recovery Fund, de-bureaucratizing the public university, internationalizing it, and at the same time solving the issue of state monopoly together.
All this together will give us the possibility of most of these 40,000 Greeks studying abroad staying here. On the other hand, for Greece to conquer something that it has not conquered. Something that – let’s say – Cyprus has done in another way: To become a regional education center”.
While he also added:
“We have already started the internationalization of the Greek Public University. Too many postgraduate degrees that we provide are in English. We should do both. We should provide many English-language programs if the universities themselves wish to provide them – on the one hand. On the other hand, to be able to provide the Greek-language programs with learning the Greek language, with this type of possibilities among others, which will be provided for in our new law, in order to be able to conquer this.
The branches we have today are just over 30 colleges. These colleges actually provide professional rights, they do not provide academic rights.”
Regarding what will change for graduates and their professional rights, he clarified:
All of this has to do with how we somehow had this development over time of the country’s higher education policy. Because in colleges, the country was “dragged” to recognize professional rights through the European Union, through specific judgments of the European courts. And in this sense we have inequalities in these college entities. Some could be said to be of quality, others are “one-story” universities. One could say that in the Greek public opinion, the world does not consider a university something that is on one floor.
(…) We already have more than thirty structures in Greece that provide full professional rights. The difference is that they do not grant academic rights. We want, through a teleological reading of the Constitution, in the light of EU law, the country to indirectly regain sovereignty in the field of higher education. Setting strict criteria for attachments. That is to say, that as long as they are non-profit and as long as they meet a series of very strict conditions, the commonly accepted conditions, in connection with the approval of our National Independent Authority for Higher Education, let us also give the academic right. So, full parity with Greek public universities.
(…) The professional right would be the greatest. Because we continue to have this prohibition, even for the last piece of academic rights, this gives birth to an international “signal” that Greece is an educationally related nation in higher education, that it has this particularity. Precisely for this reason, important initiatives that could come to our country from large foreign universities, do not come because they consider that we have this particularity in how we have handled our higher education policy.”
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