OPINION

Evaluations

The process of choosing which university and tertiary technical college programs in Greece are to benefit from a 65-million-euro package from the Third Community Support Framework (with 75 percent coming from EU sources and 25 percent from national) has been a positive step toward evaluating, if not the entire body of work done by universities, then at least their ability to draw up programs according to EU specifications. The content of the programs under discussion was also of broader interest for the national economy, being fundamentally aimed at modernizing studies to make them more oriented toward the job market, to improve education in information technology and establish the concept of continuing education. The demand for a more rational distribution of subjects was also a considerable factor, in order to prevent a counter-productive overlapping of subjects in various faculties. The result of the evaluation of the programs submitted, although not optimal, was at least encouraging, since, of the 189 submitted, 145 were approved (77 percent), a figure that is both satisfactory and optimistic. However, a more careful and introspective analysis gives rise to grave concerns. First of all, a number of tertiary institutions failed to submit even one program, considering the attempt futile. Secondly, there were considerable discrepancies between universities in Athens and those in the provinces. All National Technical University programs were approved, 93 percent for Athens University and 83 percent for the University of Economic Science programs, but only 74 percent for Thessaloniki University, 71 percent for Patras and Macedonia universities, 60 percent for the University of Ioannina and 64 percent for Crete and Thrace. One could attribute this to the proximity of academics in the capital to central authorities, helping them to set up programs more in line with the specifications of EU bureaucracy, but this would be deluding oneself. Provincial institutions could benefit from these initial evaluations of individual activities that this process has set in motion, in order to improve their effectiveness. They can only gain by becoming inculcated with the mentality of competitiveness that prevails in the international environment in which they have to survive.