ATHENS – It's an almost annual phenomenon – Greek students take over their high schools in protests – but this year it has escalated with more demands and teachers resisting a requirement they be evaluated.
The New Democracy government has reinstituted assessment of teachers performances and a court struck down strike plans by the teachers unions but they said they will refuse to cooperate in the plan.
With the COVID-19 pandemic also threatening to close some classrooms, the Education Ministry issued a circular mandating remote learning in cases where in-person classes have been interrupted by sit-in protests.
An estimated 130 schools have been occupied by pupils across the country as they are opposing a requirement they pass college entrance exams to be admitted and don't want to be tested for COVID-19 if they're not vaccinated.
The number of sit-ins could soon rise as the pupils’ self-styled “coordination committee” called for protest rallies in Athens and other cities across the country on Oct. 11 and are showing no signs of backing down from their demands.
The secondary school teachers’ union (OLME) has instructed its members to refrain from online teaching if their school is affected by a sit-in, the paper said, with teachers joining ranks with their students to confront the government.
OLME and DOE, which is the primary teachers’ federation, staged a rally in Athens on Sept. 30 protesting the prospect of mandatory evaluations, while calling for more hirings because they said schools are short-staffed.