Issues not about the handling

Some people claim you do not have the appropriate communications skills to create a climate of consensus. That is hypocritical. In Greece, when we don’t want to evaluate the substance of an issue, we talk about «handling» it. Supposedly the minister doesn’t handle an issue properly, no matter what he or she does, when there are diametrically opposed views on certain issues on the part of some groups of people. For communication to exist, there has to be a message to communicate. The Education Ministry has a strong message. I don’t say that everyone agrees. But I certainly cannot accept the hypocrisy about «handling» it. Nor can I accept the theory that we are in favor of reforms but want the minister to go because we don’t like her. That hints at other interests. So you don’t think it was «poor handling» this summer when the government was obliged to postpone the reform? Absolutely not. It is not I who says that but the prime minister himself. Last February I had stated that in June I would present a bill for discussion. We had one-and-a-half years of discussion on the changes to tertiary education. When the time came to present it in June, some people began making a fuss, demanding its withdrawal. Every self-respecting government has a duty to present a clear proposal and that is what we have done. We have also emphasized that we will exhaust all avenues of debate so that no one can claim that they were not asked their opinion. Who are the groups that should be presenting their views? First of all, let me say that the debate is being held by the Committee of Educational Affairs, as we promised and as demanded by (main opposition PASOK leader) George Papandreou. Rectors, students and unionists were all invited to meet with the committee. Of the student unions, only (the New Democracy party affiliated) DAP participated in the debate, while the PASOK Youth Party submitted a memorandum and left. Even the sit-in participants were invited. The Hellenic Federation of University Teachers Associations (POSDEP) was invited and sent a text. Let me make a comment here. How can those who claim they will not enter into a debate when called to do so by Parliament be called democrats? Either they have nothing to say or else want to hide something. That is the reality, despite what the media might say. And apart from local tertiary organizations, we have also requested that Greeks who have senior positions at universities abroad be invited to present their views.

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