The Government has decided to pull the plug on the voucher program initiated by the Ministry of Labor to support scientists, following reactions by both the scientific community and the main opposition party.
The scientists involved in the Program will still unconditionally receive the 600-euro allowance for April.
The cancellation of the voucher program was announced by the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs himself, Giannis Vroutsis, via the following statement:
“Amidst extraordinary circumstances and as part of the government’s measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, the support of six scientific disciplines through an asynchronous distance learning program in the form of a voucher was decided.
The aim of the Program was not only to provide financial support towards the country’s scientific community, but also to upgrade the digital skills of the beneficiaries, with obvious benefits for the digital transformation of the respective sectors and consequently for the Greek economy in the long-term.
Therefore, the key to upgrading the skills of trainees and creating added value to the economy lied in creating a quality training content. Unfortunately, many aspects of the content did not meet the standards of such a Program. And, of course, it does not fully serve the purpose for which it was originally chosen by the Government.
For this reason, after a relevant research was carried out by decision of the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the distance learning program for the financial support of scientists has been cancelled. However, the scientists involved in the Program will still receive the aid of 600 euros for April without additional conditions.
At the same time, by order of the Prime Minister, the evaluation of the Vocational Training Centers begins through a thorough assessment of the quality of the training programs and the development of human resources. This, of course, is something that has not been done in recent years.
In the midst of an unprecedented health crisis, the government carries on with the reforms. Within just a few days or weeks, things are happening that had remained undone for years. We are building together an effective State that inspires confidence. Any failures, as was the case with other incidents, are identified and corrected”, Giannis Vroutsis notes.
Earlier on Wednesday, SYRIZA described the developments regarding the scientists’ distance learning programs as a “first-degree scandal”, noting that “Mr. Mitsotakis will apologize to his buddies and partners for the million-euro party his government set up amidst a pandemic and an unprecedented economic crisis”.
Alexis Tsipras took to Twitter and wrote that “the cancellation of the distance learning program by the Government screaming and kicking, following the growing outrage and reactions, constitutes a confession of failure and guilt for the Mitsotakis government. Guilt for the huge scandal in which specific business interests are involved that, as the recent revelations show, are directly linked with the New Democracy party itself. The New Democracy administration apparently saw the pandemic crisis as an opportunity to set up schemes worth of millions. Withdrawal after the outbreak, however, cannot whitewash the scandal.
Those Ministers who paraded through the media day and night praising a program that turned out to be a fiasco and were pointing the finger at scientists, should at least apologize to the scientific community.
As for Mr. Vroutsis, while he is still in his position, he is letting us know that all this was set up with the blessings of the Maximus Mansion HQs.
Mr. Mitsotakis can no longer hide behind the media sugar-coating and absolution. He needs to come to Parliament and apologize for the big-time financial scandal that he tried to set up in the middle of a pandemic, underestimating the intelligence of the country’s scientific community”, SYRIZA President Alexis Tsipras concludes in his tweet.
In a similar wave, KINAL President Fofi Gennimata tweeted out that “After the revelation of the scandal, Mr. Mitsotakis was forced to a hasty retreat. He basically rushed to take back his own decision. We feel justified because from the very first moment we had denounced it. As for the Minister of Labor, the only thing left to do is for him to resign”