Disgraceful mess at TEI must be resolved

Today’s ad hoc meeting of the heads of the country’s tertiary technical colleges (TEI) will be dramatic by its very nature as the institutes’ presidents try to prioritize their demands in view of their meeting on Monday with the education minister. The situation in these beleaguered educational institutions is in itself dramatic; the dreams of about 120,000 students are doomed to be dashed, not to mention those of their parents. Victims of the most ruthless form of politicking that, in a move to grab votes, has spread the TEI out over the country, even in towns that are quite unsuitable as hosts, these institutes are now as many as grains of sand on a beach, so as to give the impression that all young people can get a tertiary education. As a result, the TEI, brimming with useless diploma courses that lead to no future job prospects, are now becoming a huge problem. With no money or infrastructure, they are not even able to pay their staff members, who are on contracts, comprising in many regional TEI 80 percent of all faculty members. Although an educational institution that is absolutely vital in any modern economy, the TEI are in fact cheating young people, their parents and the taxpayer. Increasing the number of TEI while at the same time «upgrading» them might have satisfied certain faculty union demands and some graduates, but in fact it has «downgraded» them from the point of view of organizational and educational standards, and in many cases provide students with few real job prospects. The eventual outcome of this demagogic behavior on the part of politicians with regard to the TEI issue, which has never been seriously debated due to the complicity of all involved in their debasement, are the plummeting standards of this supposedly tertiary education system. It has ruined the reputation of Greek higher education in a world that is becoming ever more competitive. Instead of continuing with hoodwinking young people and their parents with pompous speeches and unfulfilled promises, someone should finally have the political courage to come to the rescue of that very necessary institution, the TEI – the solution to the vocational futures of tens of thousands of young people, usually from the lower-income brackets of society.