Teaching Crisis

Greece will again be unable to open dozens of schools and kindergartens across the country due to a lack of teaching staff despite the scheduled start of the new school year. The new school year begins in Greece in September, but because of insufficient funding tied to the country's economic crisis, Athens cannot pay salaries to the required number of teachers. It is also reported that in the southern Greek region of Laconia, where schools have resorted to inviting volunteers to teach classes. The Greek authorities allocated additional resources, from the European Union and public investment funds, to hire additional teachers and attract more volunteers but they were unable to fill all the gaps. The ongoing staff crisis in the Greek education system resembles 2014, when there was a shortage of some 12,000 teachers in Greece before the beginning of the new school year.

The problem, according to the head of the Federation of Primary School Teachers, Thanasis Kikinis, stems from cost-cutting policies that have resulted in few new hirings. According to figures, 8,500 primary educators have retired in the past five years and only 850 new teachers have been hired, with none of these being in the past two years. “The data do not do education any honors,” said Kikinis. “Putting off problems to the future has resulted in the downgrading of education.”