The Greek Government’s decision to change the classification of higher artistic education so that it is equivalent to secondary education is a mistake that will harm the entire Greek theatre sector and erode the Bologna Process, which harmonises standards and quality of higher education qualifications across the European Union.
The European Theatre Convention (ETC), the largest network of publicly funded theatres in Europe, with 57 members from 30 countries, denounces the devaluation of artistic education by the Greek Government’s education reforms.
ETC is concerned that the national Presidential Decree 85/2022, from December 2022, will have a serious and negative impact on the theatre, dance, music and wider arts sector in the country. The reform equates education in drama schools with secondary school education.
This reduces opportunities for people who currently work in or study theatre, and risks pushing the next generation away from theatre education. It also questions the recognition of drama degrees obtained abroad. This contradicts and undermines global efforts, both within the EU and the UN, to ensure artists have the same rights, status and benefits as for any other profession.
In protest at the reform, the entire teaching staff at the Drama School of the National Theatre of Greece in the country resigned. The theatre, which is a member of ETC, has also been occupied by drama students since December. The National Theatre of Greece has outlined its support for the peaceful protests and its willingness to engage in dialogue with the Government.
ETC reiterates that higher artistic education must be classified in a category above secondary education. Similarly, ETC supports the peaceful protests and the National Theatre’s call to upgrade artistic education in Greece and establish more university departments in the performing arts.
Photo: Spyros Chatziaggelakis