Greece's far-left education minister this week dismissed scathing criticism by the mainstream opposition, the media, as well as on social media, that his ministry has officially prevented secondary schools' educational trips taking place in another country.
"None of what was said, about a restriction on school excursions (outside Greece) is true," was the statement by Minister Costas Gavroglou, a university professor.
In a bid to ameliorate the very negative reactions from a recently unveiled ministerial decision that bears his signature, Gavroglou claimed that the latter "encourages, in general, the holding of educational trips within the country, to regions with a historical, archaeological and environmental interest. Five-day trips abroad by senior high schools classes are not forbidden ... we're not prohibiting any educational or cultural trip aboard."
Gavroglou and the leftist-rightist coalition government were the target of derisive criticism last week after the former claimed that high costs prevented disadvantaged pupils from participating in school trips abroad, thereby increasing social exclusion.
In partially echoing this class-based position, the minister insisted, in his latest statement, that "... we want to encourage the children (pupils) to get to know their land ... (school excursion) travel abroad that entails a high cost and has a low educational result is curtailed. Education aims to reduce inequalities, not increase them," he said.