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Educators push for retaining Greek language certification in university bill

The University of Athens and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki insist on the prerequisite of certified knowledge of the modern Greek language for foreign students enrolling in Greek higher education institutions, regarding the draft bill on establishing private universities, is set for a plenary vote on Friday. 

In an announcement, the two universities’ language departments highlighted that Article 58 of the draft bill overlooks the existing requirement of certified Greek language proficiency for foreign student enrollment, impeding academic success, integration into the Greek academic community and communication with peers. 

The draft bill was accepted by the parliamentary committee majority on Monday, despite opposition parties expressing disagreement.  

University professor unions have also cited concerns about maintaining academic standards in private universities and preventing profit-seeking in higher education. Additionally, students have planned protests in Athens on the day of the parliamentary vote, Friday.

Universities in Greece are state-funded institutions where attendance has been free for decades. Their status is enshrined in the Constitution, with Article 16 expressly prohibiting the establishment of higher education institutions by private individuals. The government plans to institutionalize non-state universities via transnational agreements, using Article 28 of the Constitution to circumvent the ban.