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Minister tries to counter criticism after govt announces plan to ‘legalize’ bogus diplomas of 2,500 civil servants

The relevant education minister on Thursday tried to deflect a rising firestorm of political criticism after his ministry announced that it would “legalize”, through written examinations, fake secondary education diplomas used by roughly of 2,500 people to gain employment in the public sector.

Education Minister Nikos Filis said he was basing the process on a 2007 law, enacted by a then center-right government, to use examinations in order to allow fake diploma holders to keep their tenured jobs. The bogus diplomas that were detected in this case mostly involve matriculation in private night schools.

The minister, who himself has come under previous criticism from the opposition for holding the education portfolio while not finishing his undergraduate degree, also launched into a stringing attack on main opposition New Democracy (ND) president Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Filis claimed that his leftist government “inherited” the problem from previous ND and socialist PASOK governments, and that Mitsotakis, when he served as public administration minister before January 2015, failed to address the issue.

The ND leader this week pointed directly and vociferously to the proposed measure as a proof that the Syriza-dominated government is rewarding illegality and protective of the caste of civil servants.

“I trust that the government will not reach the extreme point of contemptibility by allowing, with any manner, civil servants with bogus diplomas to remain in the public sector,” he charged.