A total of 50,952 students will attend public schools this year, education minister Costas Kadis said on Friday, adding that the ministry is ready to start the new school year.
The 39,199 students at secondary and technical schools are the first to start on Thursday, September 7, while for the others Monday, September 11 will be the first day at schools where much has now changed for the better.
“The new school year begins with the best omen,” Kadis said at a press conference. “My colleagues and I feel very confident about the level of preparedness of our schools, the level of staffing, the level of book literacy, as far as the level of our infrastructure is concerned, we feel all right.”
“The implementation of the revised and reformed curricula has now gone a long way, and the process of curricula, school textbooks in primary, pre-primary and secondary education has been completed with a few exceptions.”
He also elaborated on what has changed since last year, saying that schools will have the opportunity to operate more autonomously as the objectives of the school year will not be centrally defined by the education ministry.
New regulations for recruiting staff are also in place, and exams for potential staff will start in November, with the first recruitment planned for September 2018.
Regarding vocational learning, Kadis said, “the single policy for vocational education is being broadened and implemented in a way that meets the needs of teachers and the system more widely”, adding that the number of schools taking part in an intensive vocational training programme is increasing.
Teacher training will start in early September, and all evening school teachers will take part.
Asked about possible strike action against the new measures, the minister stressed the ministry won’t be blackmailed or threatened.
During the press conference Kadis also talked about ongoing and completed projects for improvements, for which more than €54m is being spent.
School textbooks have been printed and the vast majority of these have been sent to the schools, while books from Greece have also arrived on time, he assured his audience, and the ministry is working hard to get all of them to the educational institutions on time.
Another innovation this year is the installation of special systems for cleaning and cooling of tap water in schools, something that is expected to save money as the students have to pay for bottled water, and will have significant health benefits.
More photovoltaic systems are also installed in schools.
Several publications will help the teachers and children. A manual on sexual abuse of children is one of them, and a transition guide from primary to secondary school another.
A special calendar for high school and technical schools is meant to help the children with time management.
Larger books with special fonts, colours and shapes will be available for those with visual impairment.
To further facilitate their lives, the government is offering the European Computer Driving License (ECDL) free of charge on a voluntary basis to secondary school pupils.
Concluding, the minister said the 1480 hotline continues to operate in order to protect pupils from the dangers of using the Internet.