Sunday, 4 May 2014

Update and Phase 2!

Here is the promised update on the European School situation.

We apologize for not posting sooner. We have been waiting to get move information about the situation (and are still waiting) and after all the campaign activity before Easter, Keith and I had a short rest over the holidays.

So here is what we know. At the European Schools Board of Governors meeting in Sophia on 8-10 April, the SEEH was granted conditional accreditation for two years. We don't have the full details yet, but it seems the Governors were pleased with the academic side of things and that the Greek government made promises to rectify the structural and legal problems. (We are still trying to find out exactly what was promised.)

This is a good outcome, we think, for which everyone at the school worked really hard. Many thanks to you all for your help, support, and encouragement.

But we cannot afford to be complacent. We have avoided the threat of immediate closure, but we still have work to do in order to secure the school’s long-term future.

The inspectors will be returning at some point to check that the government's promises have been kept and that all is going well.

Moreover, some people here feel the current arrangement leaves us in limbo, since the school’s future is not secure beyond two years. This is a problem for high school students in particular. The SEEH high school curriculum is different from those in other schools, Greek and English, and parents are naturally worried about committing their children to a course of study that is not guaranteed to run its full course. Parents and students need more certainty. Some parents are even talking of withdrawing their children.

While we understand these parents’ concerns, we are worried that they may be self-fulfilling. No school’s future is guaranteed for ever, and every European school has to get new accreditation on a regular basis. The one thing above all that will help secure the school’s future is a high level of student recruitment, and the one thing that will surely doom it is large-scale student withdrawal. If we want the school to survive we must have faith in it ourselves and not abandon it. Registrations for next year will open next month and for our part Keith and I will be doing all we can to help promote student recruitment. If you agree, please support the effort.

There is more to do too. We need to make sure the government keeps its promises and we need to get a good result from the next inspection.

There are also big issues in the background – most importantly the relationship between the school and ENISA. While the link with ENISA is and always has been important to the school, we feel that it is not desirable for the school’s future to be dependent on it. The school is important and valuable in its own right, as a part of Crete’s and Greece’s education system, and it should not be hostage to the complex politics surrounding ENISA.

There is also an issue surrounding the recognition of the European Baccalaureate as equivalent to a Greek Lyceum certificate. (More on this later.)

The moral is that all of us who support the European School both here and abroad, must continue our campaign to SAVE THE SEEH. The first phase of the campaign is over; the second phase begins now!

 Maria & Keith

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