ATHENS – The ruling SYRIZA-led coalition is planning to let people who used forged degrees get their jobs back if they can past tests.
That comes amid near record unemployment and with thousands of public servants having been fired, including people who used fraudulent credentials and fake college degrees to get their positions.
Instead of being prosecuted, they will be rewarded with a second chance. Education Minister Nikos Filis – who didn’t finish college – said the government is bound by a 2007 law when New Democracy was in power to give those caught with fake qualifications the chance to sit exams that could lead to them being reappointed in the public sector, Kathimerini said.
But the current New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said when he was Administrative Reform Minister he tried to get rid of people with fake degrees at the same time he was firing others under pressure from international lenders providing bailouts.
Mitsotakis said letting people who got jobs through fraud have a chance to get them back would be “provocative,” especially to the young who obtained genuine degrees but can’t find work.
The current Administrative Reform Minister, Christoforos Vernardakis, accused Mitsotakis and previous governments of allowing people with forged degrees be appointed as civil servants.
Greek law, in violation of European Union law, also prohibits those with degrees from private schools, including American Ivy League schools, from getting a job in the public sector.
Filis said he’d he willing to discuss another solution and that the fake degrees were given out 10-15 years ago by private vocational colleges he said were operating with the blessing of New Demcracy and the PASOK Socialists, the two powers at the time.
Mitsotakis said the notion of people with forged credentials working for the government was “extreme villainy.” He added the government is “provoking the young people who are struggling to study and acquire and earn place in the marketplace on their own merits.” said the leader of Greece’s major opposition party.
Mitsotakis said SYRIZA has gone against its promise of promoting meritocracy and transparency in the public sector.