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Greek parliament approves private universities bill amid protests

The Greek parliament passed a significant bill on Saturday, allowing for the establishment of private non-profit universities in the country for the first time.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the reform strengthens state universities while creating a framework for the operation of non-state, non-profit universities in Greece.

The bill received the approval of 159 lawmakers in the 300-member plenary. Under the new legislation, overseas universities will be permitted to establish branches in Greece, charging students fees but operating on a non-profit basis.

The operation of non-state universities aims to reverse the trend of Greek students studying abroad and attract foreign students to Greece, thereby benefiting the Greek economy.

Education Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis said ten foreign universities have already shown interest in opening branches, with the earliest likely to commence operations in the academic year 2025-2026.

The higher education reform has provoked division within Greek society. Opponents of the reform argue that it will undermine public universities and devalue their degrees, as state universities currently offer free undergraduate courses.

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Famagusta Gazette