OPINION

Excellence seen as a negative

Why should excellence be perceived as some kind of stigma or twisted ambition?

Let’s leave aside the contradictory announcements made by the Education Ministry regarding model experimental schools and take a closer look at the meaning of certain words.

Why does the term “excellence” bother the ministry’s new leadership? Why did Alternate Minister for Education Tassos Kourakis (whose comments so far probably signal the abolition of all kinds of positive efforts made in the field of education up to now) rush to announce the end of entry exams for model experimental schools starting this year? Why should children who study hard and get good grades be sucked into the randomness of a draw? Finally, when did excellence acquire a negative ideological connotation that seems to repel the ministry’s leadership?

If excellence presupposes a serious effort, both on behalf of pupils as well as their teachers, doesn’t its denial point to a depreciation of hard work? Does looking for the easy way out, an attitude which ultimately fails to pay off in real life, make for better citizens, as opposed to a system promoting effort and merit?

Experimental schools – a forward-looking institution in public education which was operating, improving and bearing fruit over time as the number of pupils applying for admittance skyrocketed – recently came under fire by the newly elected administration.

Who stands to benefit from the system’s deregulation if not certain public servants who detest responsibility and have built their professional advancement on mediocrity and downward egalitarianism?

The Greek education system also has excellent representatives. These include well-trained, hard-working and proud secondary education teachers who carried and still carry the weight of the crisis and the unravelling of the public school system on their shoulders.

Why is it that the vested interests supporting the irrationality on which they built their careers cannot be isolated?

What we are seeing now is that while the leftist government is preaching hope, excellence is being sidelined and anything that is “better” is being scorned at the expense of all that is “good,” through a system rewarding mediocrity and indifference. Failure, however, must have some sort of consequences that can be lifted when continuous efforts are made. If adults are not trained to act in this way, how will children possibly learn to do so?