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Greek universities on verge of collapse

Universities in Athens already had enough problems before the economic crisis, says administrator Eleni Takou

In spite of cutbacks in professors’ salaries, in research, and in education, Panteion University of Athens seems on the surface to be untouched by the country’s economic crisis.

This is your first impression when you talk to Eleni Takou, a presently unpaid employee (see box on the right) at the Political Science department, in Panteion University.

»The problems did not come with the economic crisis. They already existed before and they were so serious that even after the crisis we cannot see any difference,« she says.

Read how Greek students have been hit.

No money to buy ink

‘Problems’ for Eleni Takou are clearly a nicer way of saying ‘disasters’.

»The only direct problem is the cutbacks in the professors’ salaries and the pause of payments for some stuff. And that is not an issue for the most of the professors since teaching at the University is not their sole income,« she explains.

»There is an issue with the Master’s studies in the universities. Some departments have introduced fees for the students, the Political Science master has not, and there is a fear that we might have to cancel it,« she adds.

Universities seem to be lacking the basic ability to function.

»We do not have anything. We don’t even have ink or pens, and instead of waiting for five months to get things, we go and buy everything with our own money. There is some money but nobody wants to use them because of the Greek bureaucracy,« she says.

Future is a blur

The future does not seem bright. Even though the state has promised only minor cutbacks in education and health, Eleni wonders how much worse it can get.

The last thing that can happen now is the university’s walls to literally collapse around us, she jokes.

»There is no plan for the universities. The budget for 2011 is not done yet. We want to fight, but we do not know what to fight about. We are just waiting to see what the future will bring«.

Read how Greek students have been hit.

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