meet a municipal counsellor

“Pupils of the 9th High School of Kalamaria, Thessaloniki, participants in Erasmus+, meet a municipal counsellor”


An article by the Erasmus+KA2 work group




     In the very beginning of our project, under the title “Slowing down: a new face of European education”, a survey was undertaken through questionnaires, so that pupils and their parents bring into notice matters and points that cause or step up mental and psychological anguish to them, and acquaint us with  possible ways to decrease it.


     Afterwards, various activities were held, which led to several discussions among our group participants on what drives them to low spirits and stress and worries them most about school.  This exchange of views was followed by our decision to organise a meeting, the aim of which was to inform the Educational Department of the Municipality of Kalamaria, as it represents the State in some fields.




   The meeting of our work group with the Representative of the Educational Department of the Municipality of Kalamaria, Mrs Theodora Kefonidou, a municipal counsellor, a member of the School Committee and a Physical Education teacher on active service, took place on December 3rd, 2018, at the 9th High School of Kalamaria, from 13:30 to 14:45.


       We opened the meeting by introducing the chief idea, the content and the targets of our project, in which equal in number schools from six different countries, which is Poland, Latvia, Portugal, Italy and Turkey, cooperate and collaborate in high spirits.  We emphasized the importance of such projects and how much we miss the practical forms of education, which are closer to every-day's life.


        On our first question, addressed to her, “Do you think that today's structure of our educational system causes or steps up stress to pupils, their parents and teachers?” Mrs Kefonidou expressed her belief that stress is caused due to the inter-personal relations among the pupils, their parents and teachers. “All of us, in Greece”, she continued, “work for the outcome that is the final evaluation in examinations and not for the 'journey' over the knowledge.  Thus, pupils lose the 'beauty' of school and learning because their parents mostly, some of their teachers and they themselves focus only on their advance in lessons and on high marks”.  She brought her views to an end, by saying emphatically that pupils should take part in projects like the current one, without a second thought, because in this way they can achieve, without stress, the most in overall learning.


     An extensive discussion came about the long drawn-out absence of the school classes on the “Art of Cookery”, the “Art of Sewing”, “Handicraft”, “Gardening”, as well as on the classes of “Music”, “Fine Arts”, “Physical Education” and “Foreign Languages”, classes that relax, generally speaking, pupils.


       The pupils referred to the numerous of the same nature -as the above mentioned classes- activities in this project, outlined by each country separately, that have already been undertaken with great enthusiasm by all.  They also stressed how significant it will be for them to develop their skills in English.


      Regarding the above discussed matters, Mrs Kefonidou suggested that we should contact with the local authorities, by stirring us up to submit all our propositions for making our environment more enjoyable, relaxing and stress free.


     The meeting was completed leaving warm feelings to all, due to this nice and essential deliberation, which was carried out in an agreeable, cooperative and productive way. 


                                                                                                                                              ...... to be continued


Second part of the Erasmus+KA2 work group's article


     After having met the Municipal Councillor and Representative of the Educational Department of the Municipality of Kalamaria, Mrs Theodora Kefonidou, and her stirring encouragement towards us to submit all our suggestions to the Mayor of Kalamaria Municipality, we addressed a letter-request to him to fix an appointment with us, in order to let him know about our European project and our propositions concerning educational and school matters.


     The Mayor of Kalamaria, Mr Theodossios Bakogledis, corresponding to our request, met us with a warm welcome at his office in the Town-hall, on Wednesday, 16th January 2019, at 14:30.

     During our meeting and after having informed him about our participation in an Erasmus+ KA229 Exchange Partnership, under the title “Slowing down -A new face of European Education”, the pupils of our group posed to and discussed with the Mayor the following questions-suggestions, which were also handed in writing.

“- Could you conduce to the classes of “Music” and “Fine Arts” by providing us with the relevant equipment, so that these Subjects can be taught not only theoretically? Because real practice helps, on one hand, teachers to bring their lessons to a successful issue and, on the other hand, pupils to inquire and find out what they are really interested in by realizing their individual abilities and skills. In this way, our families will not have to 'waste' money and time in the various private music or art schools.

- Could you contribute to the enrichment of our athletic equipment, the foundation of an indoor Gymnastics Classroom and the extension of our outdoor Athletic Space with more sports, where pupils can exercise and find out which sport are good at? Because, as you know, most of us are obliged to enroll in various athletic clubs or centers to get expertise, and that costs a lot of money and time.

- Another dire necessity is the acquirement of foreign language knowledge. This is another field, where great amounts of money and time are spent with heavy consequences on pupils' mental and psychological state. Could it be possible “Foreign Language” Labs to be founded inside each school, so that all pupils, regardless their social, economic and cultural diversity, have the opportunity to gain knowledge for free? Why, in other European countries, do such labs exist and pupils get their foreign language certificates from their public schools and not through the “Frontisteria” (private schools) as in Greece?

- What do you think about the School Vocational (Career) Guidance? Do you consider that pupils are properly informed in a complete way? What actions could you pass on to contribute to the setting up of such a Department in our Municipality, as the class of the School Vocational Guidance has been annulled by the State?

- The environment that we live and act in is of great importance for our frame of mind and psycho-synthesis. We spend hours and hours at school. But, in most Greek schools, the surroundings are 'cold' and 'grey'. Could you conduce towards it either by making gardens for example in the 'impersonal' yards, which could be used for the classes of “Biology”, “Geology” or by equipping schools with libraries, educative table games e.t.c. and keeping it open to society in the afternoons? How about the construction of a protecting from the sun and the rain cover in our school yard?

- School should operate with longer breaks by modifying the Syllabus of lessons. Thus, pupils and teachers will be able to take a breath and clear their minds. This to be done, more special space should be built, where pupils and teachers could rest, talk eat, especially when the weather conditions are extreme, either too cold or too hot.   What actions can our Municipality undertake for this purpose?

- We have been told that there is a “Parents' School” in the Municipality of Kalamaria. Could it be possible relevant schools for pupils and teachers to operate?

- Is it attainable for our Municipality to engage psychologists and social servants to pay regular visits to schools? Because it is essential and capital for every School Community have the chance to share their anxieties and problems with qualified experts.


     The Mayor, on the pupils' questions that touched matters out of his province such as the Syllabus of lessons or building modifications, told them that he can do nothing. However, regarding the pupils' requests towards him to enrich our school with athletic equipment, musical instruments, books, e.t.c. as well as to beautify our school building, he committed himself to do everything possible, so their wishes can be fulfilled.

   With respect to the pupils' wish all schools being regularly visited by qualified experts such as psychologists or/and social servants, Mr Bakogledis informed them that there is a psychologist in the Educational Department, who is available after request at any time. “To be appointed though such an expert on a permanent basis for each school, that comes to the competency of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religion”, he added.

     In regard with the setting up of a “Students' School” as well as a “Teachers' School” in our Municipality, similar to the successfully operating “Parents' School”, the Mayor   said that he would bring the matter to the Municipal Council for consideration.

     On the completion of this agreeable and creative meeting, the Erasmus+ work group informed the Mayor that the five cooperating with Greece foreign missions are expected in the opening of March and asked of him to welcome all the participating teachers and students in this Exchange Partnership. The Mayor agreed willingly, wishing us the best and most creative work on our project activities till our next meeting on Monday, 4th March 2019, at 12 o' clock.





                                                                                                                              ….. to be continued