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Sports schools in Greece will be closed down

11 December 2010 / 10:12:32  GRReporter
6453 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova
    Three decades after their opening, the sports high schools in Greece are about to be closed down because, according to the Ministry of Education, they were "unproductive for sport and pedagogically incorrect in terms of education", and their maintenance costs a lot of money. With a decision of the deputy minister Evi Christofilopoulou sports classes will be closed down as early as this academic year in the cases when a problem arises with either appointment of teachers, or with the transportation of pupils to the practice locations. A mandatory prerequisite to keep the sports classes is that in each class to have at least 12 students.
    According to Nikos Papahristos, Secretary General of the Federation of the secondary education figures, the ministry has already started working for the closure of sports schools in two ways: by failing to allocate funds for the transportation of pupils to the schools and by not appoint teachers for the less popular sports. "Thus, parents need to drive their children to the schools which are one in few neighborhoods. Children on the other hand do have an obligation to attend classes in sports for which there are teachers".
    GRReporter seek the opinion of one parent. Panagiotis Stefanidis’ daughter is a student in the sports school in the Athens district of Neo Iraklio, and he himself is a member of the board of parents and guardians.

    What is your opinion of the closure of sports schools?

The problem with sports schools seems to be occurring now, but it started two years ago. Each academic year sports lessons started late. To the question we asked the ministry about whether to enroll our children this year we received a positive response and that there will be no problems. Once again, however, initiation of sports was delayed until the end of October. In our meeting with the supervisor for sports schools in the ministry of education, he informed us that there is a problem with the transportation of children to the schools and places of training. Along with this was released an announcement informing the schools that the Ministry ceases to be responsible for transportation of the children and that this will be undertaken by other institutions, mainly by the municipalities. When we asked the mayors, however, they told us they did not know anything about this issue and they have no funds to cover such transportation.

    Who transports the children now?

    Their parents. And note that sports classes have not yet begun. Last Monday, we visited again in the ministry officer, who informed us of the existence of a law from the year 1993 whereby, in order to have sports classes there must be a specific number of students - athletes. I.e. if in a sports school are taught three sports and children - athletes are for example 45 they should be distributed 15 in each class. This is impossible to happen even in traditional schools, let alone in the sports ones. Until today the law has never been applied, but now officials use it as a pretext.
    It is more than obvious that they want to close down the sports schools. The fact that we found an issue of Government Gazette from 15 October this year, in which was published a decision on the closure of most sports schools in the country is also tragicomic. Until last week, however, we did not know anything about this matter, nor were we told anything during our visits in the ministry. This is a mockery".

Tags: sports high schools transportation of students educational system
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