At home and abroad, Greeks take to studies

There are now 10,000 young people doing postgraduate studies in Greece, a 350-percent increase since 1993, when there were only 51 postgraduate studies programs, compared to 233 today. More and more young people are entering tertiary institutions, although jobs are not easier to find, particularly for those graduating from programs that are in less demand in the job market. Nevertheless, the larger number of tertiary courses has done much to raise the standard in Greece. Over half (58 percent) those aged 18-21 are students at some tertiary institute, compared to 27 percent in 1992 and 29 percent in 1996. This percentage is expected to level out over the next few years and reach 60 percent by 2010. These figures do not take into account the much larger number, compared to other European countries, of students in foreign universities. According to OECD figures for 2001, 57,825 Greeks were studying abroad, that is 5,257 students per million of population, the highest ratio in the world, followed by Malaysia with a much lower ratio of 1,777 per million inhabitants. These data are from a comparative study released by the Education Ministry in conjunction with the Educational Research Center. More children are also attending primary and secondary schools, although standards have not risen accordingly, as is evident from scores achieved by Greek schoolchildren in the PISA examination, where they came 28th out of 31 countries in mathematics and 25th in language and science. According to OECD figures for 2001, 98.5 percent of children aged 5-14 are in school, compared to the OECD average of 97.7 percent, followed by Switzerland with 98.2 percent, Australia (97.7 percent), Norway (97.4 percent), Canada (96.6 percent), Mexico (94 percent) and Poland (93.5 percent). The percentage of youths aged 15-19 in secondary schools is 82 percent, compared to the OECD average of 76.9 percent. In the USA and Hungary, the percentage is 78.1 percent, in Austria 76.7 percent, Portugal and Spain 76.3 percent, the Czech Republic 74.8 percent, New Zealand and Britain 72.5 percent, and Italy 70.7 percent. The only concern is that when they are absent from the home they could fall victim to deception by «mentally sound» people, and not that they could themselves pose any danger.