ATHENS – There can't be normality without open schools, said Education and Religion Minister Niki Kerameus, speaking to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency radio "Praktoreio FM" on Monday on the reopening of primary schools, kindergartens and special schools.
"The reasons that led us to the reopening was first of all the unanimous decision of the experts' committee and the declining course of the epidemic," she said, adding that the experience from the opening of high schools was very encouraging.
"From the moment that we have a 'green light', the previous experience, we must allow the children to return to their natural environment," she said.
Kerameus claimed that "the children are safer in school where they can follow the rules and comply with the protection measures than in the town squares," noting that there is no better place than schools for the children to "learn to live with this new reality".
"The long absence from school has significant repercussions on the children's learning and social development, as well as their psycho-emotional development," Kerameus said.
Referring to the tabling of the education ministry's bill on upgrading the school system on Monday in parliament, the minister said that the changes start from nursery school and go right up to the nationwide university entrance exams and continue on into universities themselves.
She announced that from September there will be 28 model and 34 experimental schools operating in the country.
Regarding tertiary education, Kerameus said that changes designed to upgrade universities are being introduced. "We are enhancing their openness and giving them the opportunity to establish foreign-language undergraduate programmes that will be function independently in each university and without ministerial approval," the minister said, while also pointing to plans promoting cooperation with 27 top US universities.