OPINION

Dashed dream in a lawless playground

It drives me mad when I think of what Greek youngsters have to go through these days in order to get a decent education and find a job. Our children have to put up with endless hours of private tuition as well as enormous pressure from their parents who want to see them excel. Families engage in a collective drama until the time the children finally discover how they did in the national examinations for university entry.

And then what? Those who pass the exam and qualify for a place at one of the country’s universities have to put up with the misery, the disorganization, and the extreme peculiarities of the Greek university system.

Of course not everything is so dire. There are still some pockets of excellence out there as outstanding tutors and researchers can be found across the country.

Those individuals have to work under extremely adverse circumstances. Because they are faced with unionists, leaders of university student parties (better known in Greece as “foititopateres”) and anarchists – all that in an ocean of murky dealings and mediocrity that saps every bit of momentum.

Can you think of any other country where newcomers have to register with unionists sitting at a party stand? Or do you perhaps know of any other country where all sorts of frustrated individuals interrupt lectures and classes just to make an announcement?

The whole atmosphere, from the filthy walls to the complete lack of organization, is driving young Greeks away.

Keen and ambitious as you may be, your enthusiasm is bound to be defeated when you have to wait for weeks and weeks before the term even begins.

The risk of a national brain drain cannot be underestimated. It is an ongoing and worsening trend. Of course it is not the rich and powerful who are threatened, because they can send their children to university outside of Greece, nor is it the hordes of political acolytes including administrative staff who were suddenly elevated to the position of professor. And nor does the threat target those who, even at this moment, view the universities as a lawless playground.

The threat is directed against the thousands of youngsters who gave everything they had for a dream and now find themselves faced with a terrible situation which is not of their making.