Hundreds of students have been blocking up the Education Ministry since Thursday morning to protest the planned mergers of technical colleges (TEI).
Students from several Greek cities flocked to Maroussi suburb of northern Athens demanding the withdrawal of the so-called ‘reforms plans Athena”.
Tension rose when students tried to break the iron gate of the ministry and threatening to enter if their demand to meet Education Minister Kostas Arvanitopoulos was rejected. The political leadership gave in and their is currently a meeting between the students and the minister.
Some students’ group marched towards the Athens University in the city’s center where a protest rally is to take place.
Students have been protesting since last week, the planned merger and closing down of 384 departments and faculties of universities and technical colleges in the context of Troika-imposed austerity.
A friend whose son studies IT in the technical college of Mesologgi complained the other day about the merger. “Giorgos will have to be relocate from Mesologgi to Patras. With money we don’t have.” But more than the money needed for the relocation 200 km away, my friend worries about the education future of Giorgos. “The TEI in Patras has a much higher level than the one in Mesologgi. If he had the skills for this, he would have managed to start his studies there right away.”
My friend worries that Giorgos, 20, might have to break up his education.
One should not wonder, if one of the targets of the mergers is to enforce students to break up their studies. And create a new generation of under-skilled labor forces. Unemployment in youth is almost 60%, anyway.
Giorgos* came last night from Mesologgi to Athens to join the protest, hoping that his school won’t be closed down.
The mayor of Mesologgi and two members of the TEI community started a hunger strike three days ago.
more pictures from students protest here