The crucial issue of the Greek expatriate education was highlighted by delegates addressing the SAE Africa-Near/Middle East 2nd Regional Convention that takes place in Alexandria, Egypt all calling for the solution of the problems plaguing the education of expatriate students in the specific region.
Regional Coordinator Charis Gouvelis stressed that the education of the children of the Omogenia dominates in most of the 20 issues put by SAE Africa-Near/Middle East Region to the attention of the competent Greek authorities.
Education Coordinator in North Africa and the Middle East Andreas Karatzas admitted that there are certain shortcomings but a great effort is being made by the ministry of education to improve the situation. He went on to refer to cases like Jeddah, where 9 students have a 45,000-dollar school.
Addressing the delegates, ruling New Democracy (ND) party MP Parthena Fountoukidou referred to the interest expressed by the Greek State and all the Greek political parties in the improvement of the Greek expatriate education, stressing that 2,500 educators are being sent from Greece in different countries around the world to meet the needs in the Greek schools or the Greek language teaching centers.
PASOK MP Grigoris Niotis pointed out that the leading problem for the Greek Omogenia is the education of the Greek expatriates using the example of countries like Zimbabwe where two teachers struggle to meet the needs of an elementary school with 150 students, as opposed to the case in Ethiopia where a school with 150 students has 14 teachers.
KKE MP Nikolaos Gatzis stressed that unfortunately the education problems of the Omogenia remain unsolved, while SYRIZA MP Tasos Kourakis underlined that better distribution of funds by the competent agencies is necessary as regards the transfer of teachers abroad.
On his part, Charalambos Katsibris, President of the Greek Community in Alexandria suggested that the funding system for Greek schools abroad should be changed to finance directly the schools’ management because school committees are not allowed by law to proceed with construction or technical projects. In case this is not feasible, Katsibris suggested that funding should go to the school committees allowing them to meet the operational expenses of the schools.
Representing the Mt Sinai Holy Monastery and the Ambetios School in Cairo, the managing director of the historic monastery and vice-president of the Greek Community in Cairo Nikolas Vadis suggested that the Greek State should transfer teachers and professors to staff the Greek Communities in Cairo and Alexandria and the Patriarchates of Alexandria and Jerusalem.
The Greek Community in Pretoria, South Africa also faces problems and its representative called for greater economic assistance by the State, underlining that two teachers are being paid by the Greek Community.
It was stressed that in Qatar, Angola and Madagascar there are no teachers for the students, while in Palestine a total of 42 students are scattered across the West Bank, and as regards Syria there is a delay in the delivery of schoolbooks.
The voting rights of the Greeks abroad and caring for Greek expatriates in need were also discussed on the second day of the regional convention.