OPINION

On ‘Macedonia,’ public schools, the economy

The truth will set you free

Bravo to Mr. Boukalas for so pointedly exposing the charade the the PASOK Government continues to play with the Greek public. It seems unconscionable to me that the Prime Minister and his economic team continue to deny the truth concerning the current state of economic affairs. But what is also surprising to me is that the public has not demanded a truthful account, it seems that the entrenched system of party politics has not yet reformed as well. Both the Government and unfortunately, many in the general public, are in Denial. If we examine the word’s definition in Psychology terms we can begin to understand why. Denial: an unconscious defense mechanism used to reduce anxiety by denying thoughts, feelings, or facts that are consciously intolerable.

PETER CHRESAN

Response to Slobodan Kutlesovski (Re: Macedonia)

Dear Slobodan, I read your response to the Macedonia issue and must take offense with your hypothesis. History is indeed important, it is the tool we use to judge our background, our family trees, our identities. You may in some absurd way believe yourself to be «Macedonian», this would insult my heritage and identity, as I am Macedonian Greek, born in Thessaloniki, a city founded by Alexander and his family. But I respect your misbegotten logic, only because you don’t know any better. You and those like you who don’t respect history(and indeed your own leaders who reject the Macedonian identity of FYROM), will never understand that a people who lived in an area that was Slav ruled for centuries, can never claim a history that was two thousand years old as your own. Be that as it may, I know who I am, I know who my Father was and came from, who my Mother was and her family etc. I am a proud Macedonian Greek. Just like my Spartan Greek friends and my Athenian Greek friends, and my Corinthian Greek friends, and my Peloponnesian Greek friends etc. Under your flawed logic, I might as well go to Anatolian Turkey and tell all those people there that they are really Macedonian Greeks, or India or Afghanistan, all areas that were «Macedonian Greek». Too many historians of note, too numerous to mention here, could not possible be all wrong on this issue. Look friend, I am really not a bad sort, I respect your decision to separate from Yugoslavia and create your own country, I don’t care if you call yourselves «Martians» or rightly» Vardarska». It is only when you try to abduct and usurp my culture and history that I must take offense. Sorry about your grandparents, mine are gone too. They were poor, but they knew who and what they were. You must come to terms with your history, and create a culture of who and what you are based on the Slav history in the region, and not what once was Macedonia/Greece. I will shake your hand when you come to grips with this simple fact. Otherwise sadly, I cannot……

PARIS ATHAN

Response to Robyn Charlton (Re: Public schools)

Your suggestion to move to a city with private schools or to move countries in order to ensure our children receive a better education is more or less my point in this entire issue. Why should any family have to displace themselves or go to other extraordinary measures when they are guaranteed a free, quality public school education under the Greek constitution? What’s more, as a member of the EU, Greece is required to provide said education.

This is exactly why Greece is experiencing its own «Brain Drain» so to speak, because families who are able to are emigrating abroad to countries like the US, Australia, England, etc., and they’re not coming back. In many other cases, they are sending their children abroad for their university education, rather than have them study in Greek universities, to ensure they receive the quality secondary education in their field of choice.

Clearly, many of these young adults, upon seeing the career opportunities in other countries, are remaining there, rather than returning to Greece. This cycle of a mediocre education, apathy on the part of the educational system (teachers, headmasters, etc.), combined with the economic problems, serves only to drive the best and brightest among us, out of the country.

I place the blame on parents because that is where the changes need to start. As long as parents accept the traditional practices of paying for private lessons to provide their children with the real education they need, nothing will change. It’s the parents who need to stand up to the public school system and demand that changes be made. The louder they speak and the more active they become, the sooner those changes will begin to happen.

Incidentally, teachers may work part-time, but are paid a full-time salary. I agree with you though that students rarely see a full week of classes consistently. For example, the practice of «In-School Field Trips», where the students spend the day playing and hanging out while the teachers do only God knows what, makes no sense. When the teachers cancel classes to hold their union meetings, I’m astounded that they are not required to do this on their own time.

I do not mean to suggest that every teacher or headmaster is performing poorly, but they do seem to be «Institutionalized» and resist any change to their current system. In my opinion, teachers, headmasters and schools should be routinely evaluated on their performance, based on national testing as other countries do. The results of said evaluations should be made publicly available online for parents to review as well.

Teachers who perform poorly should be removed from their position because after all, we do entrust the future of Greece to them — our children will grow up to be tomorrow’s leaders and professionals who will inherit the responsibility of sustaining the Greek way of life.

MICHALIS KOTZSAKOLIOS