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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-09-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM visits school on opening of academic year
  • [02] Papandreou: Education a national priority
  • [03] Athens Newspaper Headlines

  • [01] PM visits school on opening of academic year

    The new school year opened throughout Greece on Thursday, with prime minister Costas Karamanlis, accompanied by education minister Evripides Stylianidis visiting a public primary school in Paiania, east of Athens, where he wished the pupils a productive school year.

    "The first day of the school year finds the pupils and teachers ready to explore the fascinating world of learning and knowledge," Karamanlis said, adding that the State, as an assistant to the teachers, was seeing to a continuous improvement, to filling in the gaps, to providing all the means for the smooth development of the learning process, and advancing the necessary changes and required reforms to render the education system increasingly efficient, more competitive and modern, worthy of the respect and confidence of the Greek taxpayers.

    Stylianidis also wished a good school year to teachers and parents, and chiefly the children, adding that the State had done its duty, and thanked the teachers and administrative staff in the education sector who sacrificed their summer leave in order to meet their obligations for the smooth operation of the schools from the very first day, without operational deficiencies, and with all the textbooks in place at the schools, as well as with the introduction of mandatory pre-school (kindergarten) instruction that went into effect as of the new academic year.

    He expressed belief that important steps forward have been taken and, noting that "the opposite of good is better", added that the ministry was intensifying its efforts so as to be firm assistants in the teachers' efforts to produce the best possible result.

    "We are investing in the young generation, in education. We believe that everything is a matter of Education," he stressed.

    Replying to press questions on concerns of shortages of seats in the public school system to absorb all the new pre-schoolers, given the introduction this year of mandatory kindergarten, Stylianidis explained that the public education system had 140,000 seats for kindergarten pupils, whereas the pre-schoolers in that category numbered 110,000.

    He said the furor had arisen because many daycare centers/kindergartens, although they had two years at their disposal to adjust to the new institutional framework, had not done so on time. The ministry, he continued, had provided all possible facilitation to those daycare/kindergarten facilities that desired to make the adjustments, but without lowering the standards in safety, quality and infrastructure required in the facilities for the pre-schoolers in private daycare centers. The public school system, however, was ready to absorb all the new kindergarteners, Stylianidis added.

    To a question on the condition of school buildings, Stylianidis said that the New Democracy government had "inherited" more than 5,000 school building facilities that were 45-50 years old, and has made a "titanic effort" to tackle the problem. In the last four years alone, 580 new school buildings were constructed, and about 350 old buildings were renovated, while a far-reaching program, funded by the state budget, was currently in progress for the construction of 1,233 additional schools and a large number of kindergartens by the year 2012.

    Caption: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis at a visit to a primary public school on Thursday 11 Sept.2008 in Paiania,east of Athens.ANA-MPA/PANTELIS SAITAS

    [02] Papandreou: Education a national priority

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou stressed that investment in education was a national priority for his party, during a visit on Thursday to a public school in Nea Efkarpia, Thessaloniki, on the opening day of the new school year.

    "For us, investment in education is a national priority because that is where development, social cohesion and a humane society will come from," Papandreou said, and wished everyone a good school year, especially the pupils "who are our country's wealth".

    Papandreou reiterated his party's commitment for increasing investment in education to 5 percentage points of GDP, with an additional two percent in research, noting that such an investment would be a significant step in ameliorting "the problems we see today, and problems due to shortages in teachers".

    "This is a fundamental priority, a national necessity, and we commit ourselves on this," he said.

    Caption: Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou among schoolchildren during his visit to a public school in Thessaloniki on Thursday 11 Sept. 2008. ANA-MPA/GEORGE FOTIADIS

    [03] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Wednesday's Cabinet meeting and reactions to prime minister Costas Karamanlis' speech at TIF, the case of Vatopedi monastery, the CERN experiment and the debate in parliament on the tax bill dominated the headlines on Thursday in Athens dailies.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos announces the hiring of 7,500 doctors and nursing staff in public sector".

    APOGEVMATINI: "What Karamanlis said to his ministers - The main points of prime minister's speech at Wednesday's Cabinet meeting".

    AVGHI: "Salary earners' taxation at a peak, according to large labour unions' annual report".

    AVRIANI: "Karamanlis gets tough and begins attack - He sent severe warnings and orders to his ministers to accelerate the goverment's work".

    CHORA: "Karamanlis to Cabinet: I do not close my eyes to what is going on".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Yellow card to half the Cabinet members".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Two new contracts in the 'sacred' (Vatopedi Monastery property exchanges with the State) scandal revealed".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Nobody is listening to him - Karamanlis scolded the Cabinet members while ND cadres kept whining outside the conference chamber".

    ESTIA: "The government imposing a tax policy that was rejected 30 years ago".

    ETHNOS: "Karamanlis knew everything about the Vatopedi scandal - He was informed officially as of July 2004".

    KATHIMERINI: "Merchant Marine Minister George Voulgarakis case is a Gordian knot - Karamanlis keeps distances".

    LOGOS: "Unemployment ravages women and youth".

    NIKI: "Karamanlis realises that something is wrong - He confessed to his ministers that some issues are difficult".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Communist party secretary general Aleka Papariga's press conference in Thessaloniki: Political battle front to solve the problems and topple the government'".

    TA NEA: "Ministers and ND parliamentary deputies to Voulgarakis: Resign...".

    TO VIMA: "Ministers' movement against Maximos mansion (government headquarters) - They demand political initiatives to exit from the crisis".

    VRADYNI: "Voyage beyond the limits of knowledge - CERN: The 'experiment of experiments' began successfully".


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