Athens, December 29, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Thousands of permanent appointments for the next school year, and 14-year compulsory education with the expansion of preschool age, promised Education Minister Nikos Filis speaking at the inaugural meeting of the National Dialogue, which ended Monday afternoon, chaired by Professor Antonis Liakos.
“Our goal is not to create another list of requests but to create the conditions for an educational reform in our country, that will give new impetus”, Phillis explained and stressed the need for dialogue with social and political consultation and consensus, since “education is a priority in order to emerge from the crisis”.
Earlier, in his introductory presentation to the Commission, the Minister stressed that the dialogue has only one prerequisite, “the reform to regain its historically determined sense, ie satisfying the democratic claim for equality and through school as well”, and added:
“The aim of Dialogue we are starting, is to design a new school paradigm, utilizing the existing positives and eliminating the negatives and exceeding pathologies, so that from the school of the crisis to move the school of cultural-democratic uplift and overall development”.
Filis also announced the plans of the government to introduce a 14-year compulsory education, including 2-year compulsory preschool education, the reform of special education through the system of co-education, the introduction of all-day primary school everywhere, the change of the structure of high school and the subsequent access to higher education, the evaluation of educational work, changes in the curricula and content of general and professional high school, a new strategic planning of vocational education and training, the bold redesign of universities, schools and departments, the democratic regulation of postgraduate studies and other issues.
“We are aware that a reform of this magnitude takes time, resources and planning”, said the minister.
For his part, the President of the Commission, Antonis Liakos, in his placement, underlined that the question is “what people want, how to reproduce and regenerate the society in the future, and in the end what kind of society we envision”, as the reform of Education is not a technocratic issue.
He also expressed the view that the most important issue will be the release of high school from the exams for admission to higher education.
“The liberation from the bounds of tests raises the crucial issue of a radical reshaping of curricula in elementary and high school, which will place at its center the activation and research of students, observation, critical thinking and thematic approaches, literature search , research work, dialogue and argument in the classroom that will release from the fragmentation of the individual courses, will release from the tyranny of the curriculum and will allow cooperation between teachers”, he said.
Still, the main concerns of the Committee will be the creation of a network of pilot actions “that will make the school a cultural center with literally all day and weekly mode, with a rich offer of actions and programmes”, but also the training and retraining of teachers.
It is noted that the Commission and the National Social Dialogue consists of 36 members, which “will work both with specific problems and the overall target”, Liakos said.
In the coming days will be convened committees and working groups, while the platform of national dialogue (http://dialogos.minedu.gov.gr) is already operational, in which there are already 190 entries and 17 suggestions from users.
The activities of this Dialogue Committee included debates on a weekly basis, special workshops, working committees.
In February, according to the schedule, the Committee will formulate proposals, in March these proposals will enter into consultation and conclusions will be drawn.
At the same time, the Cultural Affairs Committee of the House, will proceed with its own programming, with bipartisan consultation.
At the end of April we be prepared the Report on the priorities of the changes in education, from which the necessary legislative initiatives will emerge.