NEWS

Learning outside classroom

Extracurricular activities by Greek pupils run the gamut of cultural, athletic and environmental interests, according to a recent study published recently by the Center of Educational Research (KEE). Children in kindergarten, for instance, are much involved in theater and freestyle gymnastics. Primary schoolers also prefer the stage more than any other cultural hobby. In athletics, basketball is the sport of choice. Many students also like singing in talent shows. Meanwhile, junior and senior high school students prefer joining choral groups and, of course, playing basketball. By contrast, the students in technical high schools (TEEs) clearly like soccer but answer questions about their cultural pursuits vaguely, saying they prefer «other artistic and cultural activities.» What do these include? Visiting a museum, perhaps, or watching a movie or maybe even learning how to make sweets. As far as the environment goes, everyone agrees there is a lack of green spaces at schools. Inside the buildings, there are libraries that don’t operate and computers that students don’t use. The KEE study also shows the cracks in the Greek educational system as it has grown. For example, 73.1 percent of schools have libraries but only operate in 61.1 percent of those schools. Also, 97.8 percent of junior high schools have computers but few students have familiarized themselves with them. Of course, school isn’t just for studying. Many students are trying to enrich themselves through extracurricular activities in cultural, athletic and environmental areas. That’s how 45.9 percent of kindergarten students decided to get involved with theater and 21.4 percent of four-year-olds started the class by learning their first dance steps. Many in kindergarten also get involved with freestyle gymnastics. Theater, dance and song also figure into the lives of older students, from primary school through senior high school. They also organize painting and book exhibitions. Many schools also choose to publish a newspaper, often with excellent results. Meanwhile, older kids are ruled by basketball, volleyball and soccer. Students want clean schools, recycling and playgrounds As far as environmental activities go, the main occupation of pupils from kindergarten to high school is tidying up school grounds – although just 26.9 percent of all schools participate in such an activity. Students also say they are interested in the school gardens (but only 14.3 percent), while just 13.9 percent are actually involved in recycling rubbish and 12.8 percent in tree-planting. Nevertheless there is a strong interest in keeping schools clean. Most schools are not that large and students like to keep the available space tidy. Those who participate in such clean-up programs usually have plenty of water taps and trash cans. But they do not have many benches or playgrounds. And 40.6 percent of students say they do not have enough green space in their schools. Some 26.6 percent of students say they have none at all, although another 32.8 percent say they have enough.