THE COUNTRY’S highest administrative court has once again decided to postpone its ruling on who can teach English, until May 31.
This is the final chapter to a five-year and thrice-postponed legal battle to determine whether a language-proficiency certificate, like the Cambridge or Michigan, is enough to teach English at a private foreign-language school (frondistirio) – or a university degree ought to be required.
In Greek, this certificat is widely known as eparkeia.
This landmark test case was launched by a group of Greek university-trained English teachers back in 2007. They want to abolish the eparkeia, which currently allows holders to teach at a frondistirio.
If the court rules against eparkeia, a proficiency certificate from Michigan or Cambridge university will no longer be enough to teach at a frondistirio.
According to Yiorgos Kotsonis, who filed the lawsuit, eparkeia was established more than 60 years ago when university-educated foreign-language teachers were in high demand.
Today, thousands of Greek secondary school students sit for one of these tests each year. By law, those who pass are eligible for an English-language teaching licence when they reach 21 years of age.
As many as 10,000 people apply to the education ministry for foreign-language eparkeia each year, the majority of them to pursue a career in English-language teaching.
The abolishment of eparkeia could be detrimental to the teaching of other foreign languages, like Chinese or Spanish, because there may be too few university-trained teachers of these languages. This is one of the main reasons the education ministry remains hesitant to change the eparkeia rules.
- Athens News 16/Jan/2012 page 35