Maria Katsounaki MARIA KATSOUNAKI

The monument of Inability

COMMENT

TAGS: Education, EU

What’s worse than reforms which never take place are those that are actually approved, implemented and then abolished after a short period of time.

An example of this is a system of school facilities and teaching staff evaluations that stopped in 2015.

The European Commission drew attention to this in its Education and Training Monitor report for 2016. According to the report, it was not a good move. The paper also referred to other issues, such as the rather disappointing performances of young Greeks at international PISA competitions, the failure of a plan for the overhaul of Greek universities, the country’s lagging in the use of new technology, or “digital literacy,” among others.

Abolishing a reform which begins in a positive way, as an impetus for improvement simply because it puts out certain people, reduces the power and privileges of others and is calculated as a high cost as far as the political system is concerned, eventually ends up being a double disservice.

It demonstrates that the inability of a state to confront any kind of vested interests is insuperable. It also points to a country which is unable to put its gifted people of many talents to good use – not because it can’t, but because it is unwilling.

In this way, the discussion ends up once again being about why the reform didn’t take place, as opposed to how it could have been implemented in order to better serve public interest.

In every respect, recalling a decision aimed at encouraging progress, taking the next step and excellence is even more damaging. It’s one thing if it’s approved but never put into practice and quite another when efforts are made to show it’s working before it’s axed. When something takes off, but is left hanging in midair, like a freeze-frame, it contributes to the creation of a large-scale Inability monument, to make sure it is visible beyond Greek borders.

The ongoing suspension of achieving anything better or constantly returning to what has been proven to be worse, when what is feasible turns into something unfeasible in just a short period of time, sends out to society messages of cancellation while promoting the idea of putting minimum effort into anything.

Greece’s newly appointed education minister, Costas Gavroglou, responded to the European Commission’s criticism by saying that “responsibility lies with the first five years of the bailout,” adding, in turn, his own touch to the Inability monument.

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