Sunday October 26, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
17o C
13o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
The cost of excellence

By Maria Katsounaki

Greeks tend to have ambivalent feelings toward excellence. They all acknowledge its importance and lavish it with praise. After all, excellence is considered the engine of growth and innovation, and a major education booster.

However, when the time actually comes to hammer out policy, select priorities, set aside funds, and create and operate structures to support and promote excellence, there is always that peculiar reluctance that often borders on all-out rejection.

We often read headlines about some Greek who excelled in that area or another. But the news often comes with a sense of relief when it actually concerns a Greek who lives abroad because he or she obviously does not disrupt the domestic order, creating fresh obligations or competition.

There is no shortage of examples: at universities, in public administration, in secondary education. It is no coincidence that the governmentís efforts to promote an evaluation system for civil servants have met with repeated obstacles. Evaluators are always found to be insufficient or inappropriate because the evaluated always deem themselves to be superior.

The case of model experimental schools in secondary education is an interesting example. Legislation regarding these institutions was approved by Parliament in 2011 before schools began operating in the 2012-13 academic year.

About 8,000 applications were filed for the 36 model experimental senior schools nationwide last year (24 municipal schools are also operating across Greece). This year the number of those applying rose to 11,000 students. Society backed an institution which in its early days was met with arrogance even by the secondary school teachersí union (OLME), for its exam requirements. The schools were also slammed by a portion of the Greek left for being elitist, competitive and market-oriented. The way in which these schools were designed to operate (staff evaluations, transfers and appointments are not carried out by members of teachersí unions) proved annoying to some.

While in the beginning the political system hailed the new system, it soon began to subtly dismantle it. Newly appointed Education Minister Andreas Loverdos extended the deadline for admission test applications at the very last minute as some parents had failed to do so on time and were exerting pressure. Was this a first step toward damaging the new systemís credibility? Nevertheless the most serious matter remains the lack of administrative structure, even a rudimentary administrative mechanism capable of handling the systemís consolidation and expansion.

While rhetoric on excellence abounds, the cost of its implementation is turning out to be painful, not only for the political system (as it is not deemed vote-worthy) but to all those who are up for evaluation.

ekathimerini.com , Wednesday Jul 16, 2014 (09:51)  
End of reason, end of humanity
Banks need to step up
Tension for tensionís sake?
Testing ground
Samaras pledges action after flash floods in Athens
Authorities began on Saturday assessing the damage done by flash floods in various parts of Athens a day earlier, with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras pledging that all those affected would b...
No court hearings for civil cases
Greek courts are to stop conducting hearings, which include witness questioning, for civil cases, according to plans drawn up by the Justice Ministry. Kathimerini understands that in a bid t...
Inside News
Nicosia says reforms are bringing results
Economic reforms in Cyprus are starting to yield results, the government said on Saturday after one credit-rating agency upgraded its rating and a second its outlook for the bailed-out count...
TAIPED waits for green light from Eurostat
Eurostat has frozen the securitization of properties that the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) had been planning. The project, drafted to bring some 400 million euros into t...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
A win is a win is a win for Olympiakos
A bad Olympiakos defeated a worse Laboral Kutxa 63-57 to make it two out of two in the Euroleague on Friday. In a game where the two teams had an overall field goal rate of about one in thre...
SOCCER
Panathinaikos snatches point at Eindhoven
Panathinaikos offered its fans a glimpse of its glorious past in European competitions snatching a draw at PSV Eindhoven, on an otherwise bad night for Greek soccer in the Europa League, as ...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
†RECENT NEWS
1. Nicosia says reforms are bringing results
2. Samaras pledges action after flash floods in Athens
3. No court hearings for civil cases
4. Greeceís lenders seem adamant that govít must act on bailout commitments
5. Future of Attica trash set to become clearer
6. Policeman admits to murder of his cousin-in-law
more news
Today
This Week
1. End of reason, end of humanity
2. Samaras pledges action after flash floods in Athens
3. Banks need to step up
4. Greeceís lenders seem adamant that govít must act on bailout commitments
5. No court hearings for civil cases
6. Nicosia says reforms are bringing results
Today
This Week
1. The past, present and future of the Greek debt crisis
2. Greeceís closed society is central to its current malaise
3. Greece must stick to reforms, says Schaeuble
4. At least 11 banks to fail European stress tests, three in Greece, report says
5. Cyprus to block Turkey's EU talks after EEZ violation
6. Stop moaning and get in the game
†††Find us ...
††... on
Twitter
†† ††... on Facebook ††
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.