ATHENS – At the same time it has cut educational budgets as much as 80 percent at some colleges, the Greek government has given the go-ahead for new university departments that critics said aren’t needed.
Included is the seventh architectural school, to to open at Ioannina University, and an environmental engineering department to be set up in Kozani.
The decisions were published in the Government Gazette on July 23. Kathimerini reported that sources said it was the doing of former Education Minister Constantinos Arvanitopoulos, recently replaced by Andreas Loverdos.
“We have often expressed concern about the creation of a seventh school when the needs of the existing six are not covered,” the dean of the architectural school at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), Eleni Maistrou, told the newspaper. “Due to the reduction in funding we cannot maintain our equipment, let alone renew it.”
“It is a shame that at such a time instead of moving towards joining forces and strengthening the schools that already exist, new schools which may face staffing problems and whose graduates may not find jobs are being put into operation,” said NTUA architecture Professor Dimitris Isaias.
The new school in Ioannina will need 12 teaching staff. The university recently lost 48 of its 288 administrative staff.
There were no reports how the government could afford the new departments and new staff while it was laying off others or if there appointments would be political, a practice international lenders wanted stopped.
Education cuts were insisted upon by the country’s creditors who put up 240 billion euros ($327 billion) in two bailouts to prop up a faltering economy. It was so bad at one point that Ioannina University seemed set for closing.