Greek teachers step up opposition to neo-liberal reforms targeting schools

The reforms targeting school education in Greece have been widely rejected, and under-funded schools and teachers are continuing to push back

February 16, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
Teachers' Protest - Greece
(Photo: via

School teachers and their unions in Greece have intensified their protest against the neo-liberal reforms and other anti-worker policies targeting schools and teachers across the country pushed by the conservative New Democracy (ND)-led government. Massive mobilizations took place across Greece on February 15, in response to the call of teachers’ unions, such as the Teaching Federation of Greece (IOC) and the Federation of Secondary Education Officers (OLME), as well as students’ groups, and parents’ associations. Teachers demanded that the legislation be repealed which pave the way for the commercialization and standardization of school education in Greece as per the orientations of the European Union. 

Teachers also demanded an increase in their wages at par with inflation, better work contracts, regularization of casual contracts with full benefits, the repeal of faulty evaluation criteria set for teachers, and the relaxation of cut-offs in qualifying exams for students.

According to, major mobilizations took place in the cities of Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras, Zakynthos, Heraklion, Corfu, Kefalonia, Lemnos, Messolonghi, Pyrgos, Samos, and Chios. In Athens, the protesting teachers chanted slogans such as “their plan is shopping schools, with parent-clients and uneducated children” and “school-business and parent-client, your new school is a nightmare.”

The conservative ND-led government in the country has been trying to reform school and higher education in Greece to make it ‘market friendly’ and ‘competent’ as per the guidelines of the EU and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The law 4692/20, pushed by the government in 2020, is intended to transform school education to make it more ‘competitive,’ and has courted widespread protest from teachers and other sections. In 2021, the government had pushed another controversial piece of legislation, 4823/21, intended for “upgrading the school and empowering teachers” by promoting ‘autonomous schools’. This had also triggered widespread protests from school teachers across the country.

Currently, with the ongoing cost of living crisis and high inflation, teachers, like other sections of the working class, are finding it hard to make ends meet. They argue that faulty performance evaluation criteria set by the authorities are also increasing the burden on teachers and putting their jobs at risk.

On February 15, the pan-Hellenic and communist All Workers Militant Front (PAME) trade union applauded the teachers’ protest, stating that “the large participation in the strike, in percentages that reach the participation of the strike of October 2021, confirms the rightness of their struggle, the need to continue, to the end, the fight against the categorized school that governments have been trying for 40 years to bring together and alternately, based on the EU and OECD guidelines.”

“Today, educators are fed up with run-down schooling, antiquated school infrastructure, underfunding and understaffing, crushing wages and job insecurity, ephemeral skills curricula, and run-of-the-mill schools,” the PAME added.

In a statement, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) also saluted the teachers’ struggle and said: “Educators say ‘yes’ to the need to strengthen the school to offer modern education to all children. A school of equals and many, without divisions and exclusions.Teachers say ‘no’ to schools with social barriers, discrimination and degradation.”