Παρασκευή, 2 Σεπτεμβρίου 2011

Wikileaks-σοκ> Η Διαμαντοπούλου ενημέρωσε την αμερικανική πρεσβεία για τις μεταρρυθμίσεις στην Παιδεία!..


…προφανώς ζήλεψε την επιτυχία της USAID στο Αφγανιστάν, που εκπαίδευε τα παιδάκια για να γίνουν Ταλιμπάν και να ρίξουν τους κακούς Σοβιετικούς…
Το ρόλο που θα μπορούσαν να παίξουν οι ΗΠΑ στις αλλαγές στην ανώτατη εκπαίδευση συζητούσε η Διαμαντοπούλου με την αμερικανική πρεσβεία. Η ιδιωτικοποιήση των πανεπιστημίων μπορεί
να διαλύσει το ΠΑΣΟΚ είπε η υπουργός. Συνάντηση του προέδρου του Deree College στο υπουργείο ζήτησε ο Αμερικανός πρέσβης. Η Διαμαντοπούλου ενημέρωσε τη πρεσβεία για την εκπαιδευτική ματαρρύθμιση-μόνο που η πρεσβεία δεν έκρυψε τον ενθουσιασμό της για το σπουδαίο έργο της ΝΔ στη προσπάθεια αμερικανοποίησης της Παιδείας!

http://bit.ly/nk3TsA

Ambassador Advocates for U.S. Interests and Mosque with Minister of Education Diamantopoulou

C O N F I D E N T I A L ATHENS 001723


SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: DECL: 2019/12/22

TAGS: SCUL, PGOV, PHUM, GR
SUBJECT: Ambassador Advocates for U.S. Interests and Mosque with
Minister of Education Diamantopoulou

CLASSIFIED BY: Daniel Speckhard, Ambassador, State, Exec; REASON:

1.4(B), (D)

1. (C) Summary: In a December 17 call on Minister of Education

and Religious Affairs Anna Diamantopoulou , Ambassador Speckhard
lobbied for American educational institutions operating in Greece,
specifically with regard to licensing , recognition of degrees and
the granting and vocational rights for graduates. The Ambassador
also strongly urged the GOG to live up to its commitment to
establish at least one mosque in Athens. Diamantopoulou
reiterated the position that the Greek Constitution stipulates
that only Greek state institutions could be licensed as
universities. However, the GOG is willing to grant professional
rights (such as being hired by the public sector) to graduates of
qualified institutions provided that they became affiliated with EU
institutions of higher education. Diamantopoulou said that plans
were in the works for several mosques in Athens, not just one, to
accommodate Muslims of different sects. The Ambassador and
Diamantopoulou also discussed higher educational reform and the
role that the U.S. could play in facilitating these efforts, as
well as meetings we could arrange during her planned visit to the
U.S. in April 2010. End Summary.

2. (C) Although her portfolio also covers religious affairs,

Diamantopoulou stated that she spent 95% of her time on educational
matters. She criticized past educational reform efforts as being
too short term and too focused to make a real difference, meaning
that long term reforms never saw fruition. Each government wanted
to see immediate results such as changing the way students are
accepted to universities without taking into account that primary
and secondary education would have to be reformed as part of this
process. Real reform would involve changing the institutional
framework, changing the teacher mentality, and decentralizing the
educational system. On the latter point, Diamantopoulou noted that
even routine changes in a small provincial schools required
central Ministry approval.

3. (C) On the issue of granting licenses to U.S.-affiliated

schools operating in Greece, Ambassador Speckhard pushed strongly
for licensing of Anatolia College, which has been in Greece since
1923, and Deree College, operating since 1875 – and for the GOG
to recognize their degrees. In addition to providing sough-after,
high-quality American education in Greece, these schools also
provide hundreds of jobs to Greeks (only 7% of the staff in Deree
College is non-Greek and 10% in Anatolia), the Ambassador noted.
Diamantopoulou stated that the Greek Constitution explicitly
forbids the operation of private universities in Greece , stating
specifically that universities in Greece must be free and run by
the state. She added that a change to the constitution would
exact a cost not only in time (at least five years) but politically
as well, since initiating such a controversial move would engender
such social unrest that it could potentially split the ruling PASOK
party in two. As an example of how controversial the issue of
private higher education is, Diamantopoulou noted that the
appointment of Thalia Dragona as Special Secretary in the Ministry
has caused quite a stir because she graduated from Deree College,
and therefore does not have a recognized Greek degree. According
to Diamantopoulou, sentiments within the Greek university system
lie so firmly against the establishment of private universities
that when a university professor quit to become Dean of New York
College in Athens, he was ostracized by the Greek university
community.

4. (C) Diamantopoulou stated that under the present constitution

it is impossible for Deree College or even affiliates of EU
universities to have their degrees recognized, meaning that
graduates from these institutions cannot apply for graduate studies
in Greek universities. There is a process for recognition of
degrees for students from universities in the U.S. For example,
provided that the students took classes in the U.S. and not in
Greece. There is more flexibility on the issue of professional
rights, she stated, since the GOG is under EU pressure and will
allow graduates of franchises of EU universities to be hired by the
public sector even if they studied only in Greece. The only way a
graduate of Deree College could be hired by the public sector would
be for Deree College to become affiliated with an EU university (as
Anatolia has done). In the coming weeks, an accreditation body
will be set up under the Ministry of Education, made up of
academics, to determine which foreign institutions will receive
operating licenses. The Ambassador stated that it was unfortunate
that a quality institution such as Deree College might be forced to
compromise its American identity to widen the hiring options for
its graduates.

5. (C) The Ambassador also argued for the granting of tax

concessions for American colleges operating in Greece as non-profit
organizations and for relaxation of visa restrictions to allow
American students to stay for the duration of their courses, which
often extend beyond the 90-day visa limit. Ambassador Speckhard
also described the advantages to Greece of allowing selected
American teachers to stay for up to three years to provide

effective English instruction, for example, and urged the GOG to

review visa cases for these teachers on a flexible basis.

6. (C) Finally, Ambassador Speckhard urged the GOG to live up to

its commitment to establish a mosque in Athens, a city of 5,000,000
with no legal house of worship for the Muslim community. The
Ambassador stated that doing so would be proof to the international
community of Greece’s support for religious freedom. Land owned by
the Greek Navy had been identified as a site for a mosque, but the
process appeared to be stuck. Diamantopoulou stated that Greece
was planning to open several mosques to meet the needs of different
sects, rather than to have only one mosque serving the whole city
of Athens. This approach would also address the problem of the
current 700 illegal places of worship for Muslims that exist in
Athens. A large site had already been identified in Elefsina with
plans for a 600 square meter mosque. The Greek Archbishop himself
had also donated land to be used as a mosque.

7. (C) In response to the Ambassador’s offer of assistance in the

educational sector, Diamantopoulou stated that the university
teachers’ union, POSDEP, which has begun to soften its rhetoric and
demonstrate a more moderate and progressive approach, is working
with the Ministry on Educational reform. The union will initiate
the reforms and the Ministry will support them. The Ambassador
offered assistance in this area as well as in the area of
accreditation if needed. The Minister mentioned that she planned
on visiting the U.S. in late-March/early April to coincide with
Greek Independence Day and may seek assistance in setting up
meetings with counterparts in the education field. At the
Ambassador’s request, Diamantopoulou promised to arrange meetings
for the President of Deree College with the Deputy Minister of
Education after the holidays.

8. (C) Comment: Although Diamantopoulou is an impressive and

expert interlocutor in the field of education, her government’s
present policy represents a significant step backward from the
previous New Democracy government as far as U.S. institutions of
higher education – and their graduates — are concerned. A few
days before leaving office, the New Democracy government gave
licenses to 33 foreign colleges to function as institutions of
higher education. The New Democracy Ministry had also outlined a
process for recognition of degrees from U.S. colleges as long as
they were accredited in the U.S. The present government has
adopted a narrow legalistic barrier using the Greek constitution as
the reason for avoiding contentious issues of recognition of
foreign institutions of higher education in Greece, despite the
fact that these institutions have educated tens of thousands of
Greek professionals. The good news is that elite institutions such
as Deree College and Anatolia College will be treated the same as
other foreign colleges operating in Greece. The bad news is that
all will be barred from having their degrees recognized by Greece.
Our conversation with the Minister underlined once again how
difficult it is in Greece to institute meaningful reform. A
university system which remains closed to foreign innovations and
hostage to syndicate interests will fall further behind those in
other countries more open to global innovations. Rather than
adopting a forward leaning posture encouraging the Ministry to
incorporate American institutions of higher education into the
Greek system, we may need to guard against further incursions into
the autonomy of quality American institutions of higher education
in Greece.
Speckhard

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