#4 It is vital for the academic life of the city
Heraklion is a major centre for scientific research. It is home to the Engineering and Medical faculties of the university of Crete (ranked 51st among the top 100 universities worldwide founded in the last 50 years). It is the headquarters of The Foundation for Research & Technology Hellas (FORTH) (one of the largest research organizations in Greece with an international reputation). It is hosts the Technological Educational Institute of Crete. the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, and the Cretaquarium. It is the home of one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, Knossos, and of several museums with international reputations, including the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, the Historical Museum of Crete, and the Natural History Museum of Crete.
These institutions conduct world-class research and should attract researchers from around the world. But for academics with families, the presence of an English-speaking school is a prerequisite for moving here, especially for those coming on fixed-term contracts. A visiting researcher or postdoc from the US, say, may not want to put their child into the Greek school system if they will only be staying for two or three years.
Or consider Greek academics who have left the country, as many have in recent years. This ‘brain drain’ is doing terrible damage to Greek scientific research, and it should be a government priority to halt and reverse it. And again English-language schools will be vital to the process, making return easier for Greek ex-pats whose children have so far been educated wholly in English.
In short, Heraklion’s academic institutions need the support of an English-speaking school. Expat Greeks may be persuaded to return if there is an English-speaking school to ease the transition, and non-Greeks may move here if they know their kids will have a school to attend.
At the moment, Heraklion is lucky enough to have an English-speaking school – the European School. Let’s not let it go.
We have lost too much already.