OECD takes aim at schools in Greece

Pupils’ performance today is wobbly even in developed states, a recent OECD survey has found. «Knowledge and Skills for Life» blames poor class atmosphere, teacher input and school equipment for the general educational crisis. Data on the learning environment and school organization was collected in each country by 150 school heads. The findings for Greece are discouraging. «Pupil performance is closely linked to the presence of trained teachers, a positive learning environment and use of the school library and computers. In respect of the last two, the school heads put Greece near the bottom of the OECD league,» Stella Vosniadou, Athens University psychology professor and OECD adviser, said. Other obstacles to learning are «low expectations of teachers,» «poor student-teacher relations,» «teachers’ absences,» «teachers failing to meet pupils’ needs» and «lack of encouragement for pupils to develop their abilities.» «Greek school heads were most concerned over bad teacher-pupil relations as a learning obstacle and then about a shortage of libraries and superficial computer use,» she added. Rowdiness, wasted time and truancy are generally admitted by both students and heads to be prevalent. Of the OECD member states, Greece has the most unruly classrooms. Forty-eight percent of teachers also cited truancy as the most frequent obstacle to learning, with noise (42 percent) coming second, while 24 percent felt that lack of respect was the main factor ruining a positive class atmosphere. Schoolchildren felt lack of time (40 percent), rowdiness (33 percent) and external noise (31 percent) adversely affected a lesson. Chronic problems of state education Teachers in Greek schools come across as impersonal, without the desire to deal with students on an individual basis, nor do they develop good relationships with the pupils in order to encourage them to improve. In addition, teachers are often absent – with or without permission – from school. In short, state education appears to have been poisoned by the chronic problems in the sector. Changes instigated by the Education Ministry for the current school year in the structure and operations of schools are regarded as essential. The survey found Greek school principals concerned over the effects of teachers’ unprofessional attitudes. Of all the countries in the OECD, Greece is in first place in terms of the negative impact of teachers’ behavior on education.

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