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Society

Private Education for Children Costs Greeks 3B Euros Annually

May 19, 2018

ATHENS – With the Greek education system preferring parroting and memorization to critical thinking, and the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA saying excellence in schools isn’t a virtue, Greek households who turn to private education for their children are spending more than 3 billion euros ($3.54 billion) a year to supplement learning.

That was the finding of a research unit affiliated with the country’s largest trade union umbrella group, GSEE based on figures for 2015, when SYRIZA took power, the business newspaper Naftemporiki said.

While public education in Greece is free, including colleges which have standards so low that students with failing grades on entrance exams can be admitted, many Greek parents prefer tutors, private teachers, foreign language schools and lessons for everything from arts to computer programming.

They also spend considerably for education away from home, such as college students enrolled in out-of-town tertiary institutions.

Spending for private elementary and secondary schools tops the list, estimated at 792 million euros ($934.77 million) in 2015. Foreign language classes, at after-school institutes or by private tutors, are second, estimated at 621 million euros ($732.92 million) in 2015 as English, widely-spoken in the country, is treated as a secondary subject in Greek public schools and not pushed.

Spending for students at out-of-town colleges and universities are estimated at 554 million euros ($653.87 million) a year and 735 million euros ($867.5 million) for private tutors, most believed to be paid under the table in cash to evade taxes.

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