Carte blanche for favoritism?

This paper has in the past criticized the reactions of Education Minister Marietta Giannakou to allegations that student children of politicians or professors were irregularly transferred to the country’s most prestigious universities. Two months after the revelations made headlines, Giannakou’s stance seems to confirm that she would rather bury the scandal. That is the only conclusion that can be drawn from her decision to publish, on Monday, hundreds of pages with the names of all students who have been transferred over the past five years. Disappointingly, the ministry came up with a rough, unprocessed list that was submitted to Parliament without any prior investigation or cross-checking that would expose any wrongdoing by politicians. It makes one wonder how the ministry was able two months ago to report 46 cases of student children of ministers or MPs who received preferential treatment. How could Giannakou then trust the data, going as far as to warn that should the names be made public, Parliament’s prestige would suffer a heavy blow? Why did she say back then that no one would have access to the names, except maybe for opposition leader George Papandreou? Giannakou is meant to serve and represent a government whose main political objective is presented as the elimination of corruption. Unfortunately, her stance on the transfers issue is completely out of sync with the administration’s pledges. The whole issue is disquieting for one more reason. Giannakou is in charge of a very sensitive sector that is in part responsible for the proper upbringing of our youth. In this sense, the actions of the Education Ministry should reflect the highest respect for moral laws, equal rights and fair competition; not discrimination and prejudice.