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8000 children abandon private schools and go in state ones

01 September 2012 / 16:09:06  GRReporter
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Because of the economic crisis and the reduction in income, the number of families who are unable to pay the fees of their children in private schools is increasing. The students whose parents are choosing the free public education are about 8,000. The number has increased compared to last year, when 10% of children did not enrol in private schools again.

Of course, many parents are making every sacrifices possible in order their children to keep being educated in private schools this year and are expecting the owners to reduce school fees or to make discount in their payment. Officially, tuition fees are the same as last year, but recently certain schools, via their websites, have been informing parents about fees reduction reaching 15%. These are isolated cases, but people with experience in the sphere of private education admit that in order to keep as much as possible students, private schools will be forced to reduce fees. In this sense, some schools are making discounts for parents who have two or three children in the school, or for those who pay the entire annual fee at once.

The deadline for enrolment of students is 15 September. Last year up to June, 10% of the students didn’t enrol, compared to 15% this year. Up to the completion of enrolment in 2011, the decrease in the number of students was far less than expected. During the 2010-2011 academic year students in private schools were 86,734 and in 2011-2012 their number decreased to 84,825. This year, some schools will be forced to close doors because of the small number of enrolled students. These are three small schools in the province in which a small number of students is educated. Last year five private schools with more students were closed.

In elementary schools, the fees start at 2,200 and reach up to 11,300 euro. The average fee is 5,000 euro. In high schools, the amount to be paid starts from 3,900 euro and reaches over 10,000 euro. And at the top level -  the Lyceum - fees are between 3,850 and 10,000 euro. These amounts do not include the cost of transporting students which exceeds 1,000 euro and up to 1,500 euro a year in some cases. The crisis has not affected so far private schools with lower fees and those which provide facilities for payment. The policy of certain schools to have a good name in the field of private education and at the same time to keep their fees low causes them smaller losses, and even in some cases there are waiting lists of students from public as well as from other private schools. The schools, which will suffer the greatest losses, are those with a small number of students, as they are unable to reduce their fees in order not to lose their students.

As factors in the sphere of private education emphasize in front of Ethnos newspaper, based on their experience, most parents decide to move their children from private schools when their child passes from one level of education to another - that is, when a student graduates from elementary school and prepares for high school and when they finish high school and enrol at the Lyceum. In the elementary schooling and even more at the Lyceum, when students prepare for state exams, far less of them leave the private schools in the direction of the state ones. This year, because of the unprecedented economic crisis, which is deepening, there will be such cases as well.

A significant increase in the number of students in public schools is expected, if the predictions of a mass exodus of students from private schools come true. This will happen at a time when the appointment of teachers is extremely difficult, and thousands of them are preparing to retire. This year is expected to be the most difficult in terms of appointments, compared to the previous ones. So far, only 225 permanent appointments have been declared - with nearly 5,000 applications for retirement. Teachers warned that the quality of education will fall even further, if the necessary teachers to fill the gaps that will appear in September will not be appointed.

Tags: private education private schools public schools school fees
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