NEW YORK – The Greek government’s intention to further Greek education in America in a more coordinated manner was expressed by the Minister of Education Niki Kerameus during her visit to New York representing Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at special UN sessions on education.
Among other comments, she made a special reference to the provision of teachers from Greece, stressing that the plans of the Ministry of Education include the establishment of additional incentives for posting abroad, which will reflect the cost of living and other specificities of each country.
“There are variations depending on where one serves. For my part, I have requested that we look at this framework as a whole, but also at the possibility of establishing incentives for teachers who live abroad, taking into account the special conditions, the cost of living, and other data,” said Niki Kerameus
Kerameus emphasized that multifaceted support is provided, whether it is for schools of the Archdiocese, for Charter schools, or for any other form of education.
“We have supported expatriate education in three ways, especially in the USA: The first is through the coordinating office based in New York that oversees the entire country. The second is by providing educational material. We try to help with educational books about Greece, which aim to preserve the Greek language but also to further spread our values and culture. The third way is by providing teachers. We have about 70 seconded to schools across America where the Greek language is taught. I would like, given the opportunity, to thank all those who contribute to this crucial effort, teachers, members of the communities, parents and students.”
Kerameus added that in addition to the teaching of the Greek language, equally important to the Ministry is the promotion of Greek culture.
Expansion of Cooperation with American Universities
According to the Minister, cooperation with major U.S. universities is going to be expanded, announcing, through The National Herald, the visit of representatives from 30 different American Universities to Greece in November, in order “to launch new collaborations and to deepen the existing ones.”
She said that, “in November, representatives from 30 leading American Universities, including Harvard, Yale, Hopkins, Columbia, and NYU, will come to Greece. These representatives are coming to our country either to launch new collaborations, or to deepen existing ones with our universities. I will mention, for example, the National and Kapodistrian University’s collaboration with Yale, to create a joint research center for environmental health. There is also the collaboration between the University of Athens and Harvard, which focuses on the consequences of the refugee crisis. Another example is the collaboration of Ionian University with Johns Hopkins for Alzheimer’s research, and NTUA with Columbia for Architecture studies.”
She declared that “these partnerships are indicative, enriching, deepening and increasing”, emphasizing that, based on data from the Institute of International Education, this is the largest number of bilateral partnerships between American universities and universities of another country.
English-language Programs are Expanding
Kerameus also spoke about the expansion of English-language study programs in Greek Universities, with the assistance of a funding from the NSRF program, which is attracting particular interest.
“Through the NSRF, a fund of 20 million euros has been earmarked for English-language programs. When this announcement came out, we waited for the response. 208 English-language programs appeared, which are attracting foreign students,” said Kerameos, adding that the Greek government “provides all the institutional tools and flexibility to Greek Universities for cooperation with foreign universities.”
The Minister of Education concluded by referring to the new law that was passed a month and a half ago that will facilitate more effective interconnections between Greek universities with the needs of Greece’s labor market.