Greek parliament approves major university reform amid protests, dissent in government

Greece's parliament has approved measures allowing the government to close or merge roughly one of every five faculties at universities and higher education colleges. The landmark reform triggered student protests and dissent within the coalition government.

Police used tear gas during brief clashes with student protesters outside parliament Thursday, as about 3,500 people joined rallies against the proposed legislation.

Lawmakers voted 148-125 in favor of the reforms that will see the number of higher education faculties cut from 534 to 405, with members of the small, left-wing coalition party voting against the measures.

The government argues the cuts will allow more effective education spending in the crisis-hit country, while the main opposition Syriza party says the changes were "dictated by accountants" without proper academic consultation.