After intense lobbying by the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) and the parents of Strathmore Secondary students, the school has decided to reinstate VCE Greek for 2019. The decision was made after a meeting that took place on Monday 11 December at the offices of the School. The meeting was attended by representatives of the GCM, the Victorian Education Department, the Greek Education Consul and concerned parents of Strathmore Secondary school.
Following that meeting, GCM’s Vice President and Education Convenor Mr Theo Markos wrote to the principal of the Strathmore Secondary School Ms Jill English:
It was a pleasure meeting you yesterday and I thought the conversation that took place was one that needed to be had.
I have no doubt that your school has a strong commitment to the teaching of community languages but I think, in this case, your decision NOT to offer VCE GREEK this year ,is a mistaken one....”
“[…] Your main argument centres around the fact that there has been a change in the study design which makes a combined year 11/12 class inappropriate and not conducive to good learning. You also claim that this places an unfair burden on the teacher as well.
I have since spoken to many VCE Greek teachers who are aware of the change in the study design especially in units one and two.
They believe that this change does not, in anyway, prevent the formation of a combined class, especially when we are talking about student numbers of not more than 10. They are also of the firm view that the teacher load is not unreasonable at all.”
“[…] Jill, there is a very simple solution to the problem we face. You simply introduce a 2019 combined year 11/12 VCE Greek class. This will reinstall faith within your school community and will be clear proof of your commitment to teaching Greek at Strathmore.
And we promise you, that as Greek Community of Melbourne, we will do everything possible to promote the Greek program at Strathmore and encourage as many local students to do Greek at your school.”
On Monday, 17 December the Greek Community again with a group of school parents, this time from Coburg West Primary school, met with its principal Mr. Mark Cologrande.
Mr. Cologrande made the commitment that from the beginning of 2019 he will initiate the process of consultation which will involve all relevant stakeholders including representatives from the Greek community and especially those who reside in the school zone.
The parents who were present informed the Principal that they will be forming a committee whose main purpose will be to promote Greek program at Coburg West which has a proud 30-year strong tradition.
Theo Markos acknowledged the passion of parents at both Strathmore secondary and Coburg west primary school.
“It was their intense lobbying, strong passion and belief they have in the Greek programs that resulted in a reversal of both schools initial decisions to diminish the role of their respective greek language programs. It is only with strong participation from parents, that results such of these can be achieved.
I also acknowledge the strong support by the Minister of Education James Merlino as well as the tireless commitment of both Minister Jenny Mikakos as well as Member for Oakleigh Steve Dimopoulos, and we once again publicly thank them.”