Alexis Papachelas ALEXIS PAPACHELAS

Education twists into Gordian knot

COMMENT

TAGS: Education, Politics

Reliable sources have suggested that Education Minister Costas Gavroglou’s draft plan for changing the university entrance exam system has prompted reactions even within ruling SYRIZA. These reactions, of course, have no relation whatsoever with what’s really important – anything but. They are related to the leftist-led government’s communication strategy, as a number of officials believe that Gavroglou’s proposal does not serve the public relations package the prime minister is trying to sell right now, especially ahead of the Thessaloniki International Fair in early September.

They’re right, actually, because how can Alexis Tsipras possibly spin two sets of entrance exams in senior high when the government had promised that the existing system of one set of exams in the summer would be abolished?

We are obviously witnessing yet another volte-face from the government, though it is in the education sector this time. This, however, is not the biggest problem, especially given that it is very unlikely the education minister’s plan will ever be implemented, even if the coalition government survives longer than the current odds would suggest.

The biggest problem is that while most political parties and many experts agree that public education in Greece is dysfunctional at every single level and completely backward in terms of current requirements in a competitive international environment, and while a lot of money is spent on studies and proposals, no one seems able to agree on a plan to radically reform the sector and get it on the right track.

The worst thing – which also points to the magnitude of the hypocrisy involved – is that everyone admits their failure and tries to put it down to a lack of funds, pointing to the economic crisis.

Unfortunately, all signs point to education becoming – yet again – yet another Gordian knot, as there is insufficient political willpower, know-how, common sense and organizational capabilities to come up with a solution.

Meanwhile, personal and collective interests have formed in the background, blocking every effort at introducing meaningful change to the educational system by hiding behind ridiculous ideological assertions and obsessions. These interests ensure that every step forward is long and slow, and in the meantime, the good people that remain in the educational community – from professors to students – will start looking for a better future elsewhere. This, it appears, is our fate unless we get serious.

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