“Some 40,000 Greeks study abroad every year, “Education Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis said on Sunday, speaking to a local television station regarding a high-profile decision by the government to pass legislation that will allow the establishment of non-state, non-profit higher education institutions in the country.

“Why shouldn’t Greece be a regional educational center? Why can’t students from the Balkans come to Greece to study?” he asked, rhetorically. .

Promising equivalent academic and professional rights comparable to foreign parent institutions, Pierrakakis emphasized that degrees conferred by private, non-profit universities, established as branches of foreign entities in Greece, will enjoy full accreditation.

Regarding the criteria for establishing branches of foreign universities in Greece, Pierrakakis said they will be strict and will ensure the best possible quality.

Greece’s National Authority for Higher Education, which is an independent authority, will have a powerful say regarding the criteria for founding foreign branches in Greece, he underlined.

Pierrakakis clarified that the proposed legislation would not impact the 33 existing colleges providing courses in Greece. “Our aim is to cultivate an optimal educational environment. We seek collaboration with major foreign universities to fortify our higher education system,” he remarked.

Greek public universities still remain the government’s “flagship” in the reform effort, stressing that the government’s determination is to improve these on three levels: internationalization through collaboration with foreign institutions at a postgraduate and undergraduate level, additional funding of more than one billion euros and flexibility to reduce bureaucracy and allow easier self-administration.

Highlighting the constitutional limitation prohibiting non-state entities from independently offering higher education degrees, Pierrakakis reiterated that the forthcoming bill would introduce criteria enabling such institutions to operate in Greece’s, while upholding high-quality benchmarks.