Some 120,000 pupils went back to school today, however the possibility of strike action by teachers still looms large.
The crisis in education was sparked by a Council of Ministers decision on July 4 to change the number of free periods given to teachers in return for being responsible for other activities and to cut the reduction in teaching hours for those employed the longest.
The measures were a part of a plan to ‘rationalise’ public education and save €7 million.
The government and the teachers’ unions have been discussing various compromise proposals, but strike action is still a very probable scenario, Phileleftheros reports.
The main point of conflict between the teacher’s and the government is over the one hour of non-teaching periods that vice-principals will not be compensated for.
POED, OELMEK and ODEK met last night to discuss a new government proposal and released a joint statement announcing that they will move forward together to achieve their goals and a qualitative upgrade of the schools.
The teachers’ unions will meet again on Wednesday.
As they told Phileleftheros yesterday, the ball is in the court of the government as they “enter the dialogue with good intentions which is exemplified by the fact that the schools are open today.”
However, they said that they are ready to proceed to strike action if their demands are not met.
The Minister of Education, Costas Hampiaouris in his message for the start of the school year (which will not be read to pupils) argued that both sides should work together to modernise public education.