Government unveils bill for private universities in Greece
Greek students enrolling at private branches of foreign universities founded in Greece will be required to go through the local nationwide university entrance exams and meet some minimum requirements in order to be offered a place, Education Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis said on Wednesday while unveiling draft legislation allowing the establishment of private universities in the country.
Students will also have to meet any additional criteria imposed by the parent foreign university, and the minimum pass mark for the subject they intend to study, which will be calculated by multiplying the average exam mark for the particular subject by 0.8.
The minister said that the minimum cost for founding such a branch of a foreign university in Greece will be two million euros, with 500,000 euros allocated to each of the three departments it is required to have and another 500,000 for buildings. An exception will be made for the top 20 universities in the world rankings, which will have the option of founding a branch with a single department.
He said that the criteria for founding private universities will be the strictest in Europe and supervised by the National Authority for Higher Education, while the branches will be legal entities of university education linked to the parent university, which will be responsible for the curriculum. They will not be permitted to employ faculty members who also teach in the state universities.
According to Pierrakakis, anyone with a school leaving certificate from another country that is equivalent to that of Greece, or an international baccalaureate can enroll in a non-state university without sitting exams.
The bill will be posted for public consultation by Wednesday evening.
Universities in Greece are state-funded institutions where attendance has been free for decades. Their status is enshrined in the Constitution where Article 16 expressly prohibits the establishment of higher education institutions by private individuals. The government plans to institutionalize non-state universities via transnational agreements, using Article 28 of the Constitution to circumvent the ban.