SSP: Struggle for the defend of the Public Education in Greece

January 2024

Socialist Student struggle – Greece

(Sosialistiki Spoudastiki Pali -SSP)

Struggle for the defend of the Public Education in Greece!

 Questions and Answers against the  governments’ campaign for the abolition of Article 16 of the constitution

Against the raging propaganda of the government, the neoliberal “gurus of the free market,” the elite, and the media, which are attempting to destroy the public and free education, both youth and workers united, must give the befitting answers!

  1. “Private universities are better than their public equivalent.”


Answer – The truth lies in the exact opposite. No matter how many vows the government takes, that private universities will be “non-profit”; no matter how many “requirements” and “high standards” the government legislates; private universities will be founded and managed just like any other company: they’ll be “Universities Inc.” They will constantly bypass every “requirement” and go after more “clients” by lowering all tuition fees. Alongside the absence of any state interference, these will drive the quality of the provided education down the hill. The educational level will religiously abide by “the needs of the free market”, this however does not mean “more and better job positions” as the prime minister, Mitsotakis, and the minister of work (Adonis Georgiadis) claim. On the contrary, it will mean educational programs specifically tailored for the acquisition of various “skills and proficiencies”, compatible with the jungle that the job market today is (unemployment, low wages, “flexible” jobs (zero-hour contracts, freelancing, etc.)


  1. University degrees will be broken down and sold into separate “courses”.


AnswerBoth acquired knowledge and working rights alike, will not be determined based on the scientific field of each student, but rather based on how much money one can spend. We will see a shift towards sped up two or three years long educational programs (instead of 4 or 5 years that is the standard for an undergraduate degree).  These programs will be overly adjusted and based on the needs of the “free market”, essentially, the bankrupted Greek economy. As a result, they will be significantly degraded compared to their predecessors. These will be the results of the glorification of “private investment”, and privatization of the public sector. Both have already led to catastrophic results (Tempi, floods in Thessaly, fires in Evros, etc.) leaving casualties behind.

  1. “Article 16 is anachronistic; there’s nothing equivalent even in North Korea.”


Answer – Τhe ideology of “excellence” and turning university education into a merchandise, secluded only for “excellent” bank accounts, is what is anachronistic. Their politics reverse society to an era long passed when education was the privilege of the rich and the aristocrats.

It is through public universities that science, research, technological advancements, and improvement of the quality of life, and society have advanced forward. These all are the result of the working class and the youth’s struggles of the past century! In Greece, they are the result of the increase in the number of young people that received university education, which is in turn a result of the Polytechnic uprising of 1973, and the harsh class struggles that followed, during the transitional period  : that is how the children of the working class and the impoverished masses managed to gain a place in universities. The abolishment of Article 16 will bring us back to the 50s and the 60s, when universities where almost inaccessible for the vast majority (there were tuition fees). This signifies a broader attempt of the government to erase established rights of the working class. It becomes obvious that the only “anachronism” is their ideology that higher education should be a privilege reserved only for the ones that can afford it.

  1. “The new law about “free universities” isn’t against the constitution. Any disagreement is popularism and scaremongering.”


Answer – The founding of non-state-owned/private universities is a BLATANT VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION. No matter how many “experts”, constitutional lawyers, and so-called “interpretations of the constitution” the government and the media present, the truth is evident and cannot be hidden. What Article 16 states is plain to see: Higher education is to be provided EXCLUSIVELY by institutions that are legal entities under public law with full self-governance… The establishment of higher schools by entities under private law is prohibited”.

It is not the first time the Mitsotakis government has taken such actions. Afterall, this is a “bully” government that oversteps formal legality (surveillance scandal, corruption in public procurement, etc.), human rights (Pylos, refugee concentration camps), and the constitution itself (pension cuts, implementation of austerity packages, …). Their governance is a PERMANENT COUP D’ETAT, in terms of political choices they make, regarding the function of the parliament, and the tailor-made laws that they pass as discreetly as possible. These aim to fortify their regime and to reinforce the constant robbery of the working class, using every means possible, so that an elite can gain at our expense. Members of the government, their “associates”, people who haven’t worked for a single day, all these useless people, are entangled in all sorts of scandals, illegal activities, filth, and immorality – it goes without saying that they’re never sentenced by their bourgeois “justice”. The only way for us to stop them is through our struggle, and the struggle to overthrow the criminal, and dangerous government of ND.


  1. “Private universities will help reverse the brain-drain. Why should Greek students spend money abroad?”

Answer – If the neoliberals in the goverment really cared about the return of the youth that has immigrated abroad – as a result of the austerity policies they enforced –  they would have strengthened public universities instead; by hiring more staff, increasing faculty members, creating new facilities, and increasing government spending for education. This is further proof that, by abolishing Article 16, their only aim is to further cut back on public spending for education. As well as to provide both local and foreign “investors” in education, with the newfound sums. The reality behind their famous   “private initiative” is further privatisations funded with public money through subsidies, European programs, etc. Their “investments” are money that has been stolen from the working class through high taxes and a plenty of different ways. That’s what “successful” capitalists do nowadays!

  1. “We should follow the successful model of the US and the EU.”

Answer– Approximately 70% of young people between the ages of 18-24 receive university education, in Greece. That number barely reaches 38% in the US, and 42% in the EU. Particuralrly in the US, young people are forced to take out student loans, which approximate around 80,000 euros, a sum they are -like slaves- forced to repay for the rest of their lives. Afterall all  their so-called successful model means that approximately half of students are left out of the universities, while the remaining half is burdened with immense debts.

  1. Why should the co-existence of public and private universities be a problem?”

A – The existence and promotion of private universities brings to life an unfair competition between public and private ones, with the odds being against public education, which will be severely and drastically undermined:

  • Education will become a costly merchandise and all sorts of fees and tuitions will be enforced. The capitalists are attempting to create a market of education with tuition fees in postgraduate, and undergraduate programs; seminars, and various new diplomas; private student dorms, and university cafeterias; students will have to pay for their books, etc.
  • If the law is approved, it would mean de-facto cuts in public spending for universities. This would worsen all the results of the chronic underfunding and would eventually lead  to a lot of departments being closed or merged.
  • University degrees will guarantee even fewer labour rights than they already do. Private universities will be the only ones to provide degrees that guarantee labour rights, as public university degrees will become worthless.
  • Children of the working class and the poor popular strata will be excluded from higher education due to changes in the entrance system and increasing problems in high schools, both of which demand that parents pay for private schools or extra tutoring.

Their goals are obvious:

1) They want to create more “costumers” for private universities by presenting private university degrees as more competitive in the labour market.

2) They want to be done with labour rights for good.

3) They want to profit from public universities through Public and Private “Partnerships” that will, of course, be done at the expense of public funds. The only way for us to have education, work, and a life with dignity is through defending Article 16, and public and free education and through clashing with the neoliberal government.

  1. “I will soon graduate, why should I be interested in Article 16?”

A – As public university degrees are being undermined and equated with degrees from private universities, everyone  beginning from  pupils, students, and graduates alike will be forced to go after seminars, diplomas, and qualifications, all of which will be a costly expense the vast majority can’t afford. We will see this type of educational programs multiply in the private sector and public universities will get dragged along if they should  remain “competitive” in the market. Defending Article 16 is to our advantage, not only as students but as current and future workers as well.

We must:

TAKE ACTION AGAINST their lies and propaganda, and the constant overstepping of any law and the constitution alike.

DEFEND public and free education, a social conquest  by harsh class struggles.

ORGANISE our resistance in a unifying, decisive, and long-lasting struggle.



  • Our movement needs the  support and the  internationalist solidarity of the youth and the working class all around  Europe and more abroad!
  • Spread our message and fight with us!
  • For solidarity messages and support please contact us at [email protected]