Good news about the SEEH!

SEEH children doing a Cretan dance

Friends of the SEEH have been very worried about the accreditation of the school, which was up for renewal. If the European Schools organization did not renew it, then the school could not continue — at least not as a European School.

So I was delighted to hear today that the school has had its accreditation renewed. We friends of SEEH are very grateful to the European Schools organization for its support and its belief in our school.

So one hurdle has been cleared. But more remain. Accreditation is necessary for the school’s survival, but it is by no means sufficient. Accreditation merely gives permission for the school to continue. But without the support of the Greek authorities, local and national, the school will not have the means to keep going. (It is, after all, a Greek state school.)

In the past the Greek government was under a legal obligation to keep the school open; it was a condition of Greece hosting ENISA (the EU cyber security agency). But with ENISA’s recent decision to move away from Heraklion, this obligation will lapse. Now the Greek government will no longer be required to keep the school open; instead, they must want to do so. This is why it is so important for all interested parties to realize the importance of the school for Heraklion and Greece, and to make their case to the Greek authorities.

As I have said before, although it is sad that ENISA is leaving, it is may a blessing in disguise for the school. It cannot be desirable that a school’s existence should depend on the presence of a single, relatively small agency. There were never enough ENISA children to fill a school, so many local children had to register in order for the SEEH to be viable – committing themselves to an educational programme quite different from the standard Greek one. Yet these non-ENISA students were in an unenviable position. They were committing their education to an institution that had been created for another group of people and which might disappear if those people suddenly decided to leave. It will be much better to have a school that there is there for all its students equally and that is there simply because they need it.

So, we have good news. The European Schools organization is backing us. And we have a great opportunity to re-establish our school on a new basis, serving the community in Heraklion and no longer dependent on ENISA. We just need to make the case!

The European Schools have done their bit; let’s do ours!

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