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Greece: technological education institutes to be merged into universities

Greece is the latest case of a change to a single-type higher education system and of following the trend of mergermania. The Greek parliament has recently passed a new higher education law that will merge technological education institutes (TEIs) into universities. The government declared that the merger will create “synergies” and help boost the economy. The intention is also to allow TEI graduates to upgrade their degrees to university level, even though the Greek Minister of Education, Kostas Gavroglou, made it clear that “TEI degrees would not be automatically upgraded” and that the exact criteria for conversion will be defined in the next six months.

The government’s decision attracted severe criticism from university professors and academics, many of whom see it as a political (and populist) move in view of the general elections in October 2019. For example, Loukas Vlahos, professor of physics at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, claims that the plan lacks a clear strategy and it was imposed by the government, with universities and TEIs hardly involved in the decision-making. Professor Vlahos also warned that the reform would “destroy Greece’s technical training structures and force them together with its research-oriented universities”. Criticism was also voiced by Vasso Kindi, assistant professor of philosophy at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. By citing a newspaper, she stated that “there could be 400 000 such upgraded graduates” and “without any assessment of their credentials”.

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