Wealth is key to school results

Children who come from families that live in wealthy areas of Greece are more likely to get good grades at school than those who live in poorer areas, according to figures made public yesterday. Greek families spend a total of -4.3 million on education each year, according to a study that was conducted by the Education Policy Development Center of the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), Greece’s largest umbrella union. The areas that achieved the best high school grades were the municipalities in the affluent suburbs of northern Athens, followed by the island of Chios, and then the prefectures of Larissa, Trikala and Karditsa in central Greece. Conversely, the areas where children achieved lower grades were in the more deprived prefectures of Rhodope and Xanthi in northeastern Greece. «The inequalities in education seen on a geographical level indicate unequal development and the dead-end in which Greek society is gradually being trapped,» said the GSEE President Yiannis Panagopoulos. GSEE called for the government to take specific steps to boost the spending on education in areas where high school grades have been particularly poor. In the past, the Education Ministry has rejected similar calls. The study also found that tougher university entrance standards had helped to raise grades from an average of 10.5 out of 20 in 2005 to 11.5 last year.