ECONOMY

Get a PhD from the comfort of your home

E-mail messages prompting me to «get a bachelor’s, master’s or PhD degree in two weeks» arrive at least once a week on my desktop. This is plain fraud, you might say. However, even fraudulent messages rely on some criteria of acceptance and address the needs of certain groups. Maybe what the senders consider to be acceptance of the virus-generated e-mail message by Greek recipients is merely following a wider trend, as seen across the whole of Greek society, of staying near home. Virtually everyone would like to have a postgraduate degree, but few would risk doing the course while working part-time in a European country, the way so many dared to do in the 1950s and 1960s. It’s fine as long as it is done next door, or at least within an 8-10 kilometer perimeter of the little world of the capital or some other location. Notably, many Social Security Foundation (IKA) vacancies for doctors in cities outside Athens were recently not filled precisely because they were away from the capital. Whatever happened to the descendants of the curiosity-prone Ulysses? The term «mobility» has become negatively charged and young people’s defense against unemployment and the lack of jobs has turned into an obsession with finding a job in the public sector. The issue is not financial, or not simply financial; it is, however, certainly connected with the cultural changes in the post-1974 period. The effects of this are already recorded in surveys. According to a recent survey by Eurobarometer, Greeks are the least desirous of all Europeans to relocate to another country or region. When asked whether «long-distance mobility is an opportunity for people,» Greeks and Cypriots were at the bottom of the list in giving affirmative answers among the EU’s 25 member states. The citizens who view relocation as an opportunity for work or for living form a minority in Greece and in Cyprus. The affirmative answers in these two countries do not exceed 28 percent. Greeks are the least interested of all Europeans in relocating, either because they are happy with their living conditions or even if they are not they are afraid of the unknown and of having to adapt to a foreign country. The notion and practice of change has negative connotations, even for young people. This confirms the image of a closed society, depriving its young members of the value of adventure, with all that this may entail for personal and working experience.