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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-09-11

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] School year officially kicks off

  • [01] School year officially kicks off

    Schools and school children momentarily stole the spotlight from the elections on Tuesday morning, as parents and youngsters throughout the country attended the blessings traditionally held on the first day of the school year and children received their new books.

    Several political party leaders also put in an appearance at several schools, such as the visit paid by main opposition PASOK president George Papandreou to the 12th & 16th state school in Stavroupolis, Thessaloniki or the visit paid by Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alekos Alavanos to the Nea Penteli high school.

    Education minister Marietta Yannakou attended the blessing at Athens' 13th state primary school and wished teachers and pupils a good year, stressing that "school life is, as Kavafis said, a long journey, an adventure", adding that this adventure would be shared with their parents and teachers.

    Schools in the fire-stricken Peloponnese also opened as normal on Tuesday, while according to the regional director for education in the Peloponnese Nikos Marabeas the unfilled staff positions were minimal and would be filled in the next few days.

    The return to the classrooms also prompted a revival of labour disputes in the teaching profession, meanwhile, with nursery and primary school teachers holding a symbolic march toward Parliament on Tuesday to demand that two years of pre-school education be made mandatory. Nursery school teachers were also against the introduction of a longer school day that they said did not take into account the needs of pre-school children and their teachers.

    The primary teachers' union DOE also held a press conference about the unfilled teaching positions at the start of the school year, noting that primary schools and kidnergartens were missing 4,000 regular staff and about 7,000 substitute teachers paid by the hour that were needed for the smooth running of extended-day schools. These shortages would lead to thousands of lost teaching hours, the union stressed.

    The year also started with a protest - this time a musical one - at the Pylea Musical School in Thessaloniki where parents and children turned up bearing banners and drums to demand that the state sort out shortages in teaching staff and books.

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