Avoiding dialogue

Could there be any particular significance in the fact that the «national debate» about our education sector is to begin on Friday, the same day that the country’s university professors go on strike to press for the satisfaction of outstanding demands? Whatever message it is that the professors want to give, they are giving it in the wrong way. As teachers, they are obliged to convey that dialogue is both meaningful and functional. Indeed, the paradox is that the ministry’s agenda for dialogue includes proposals that partly meet the professors’ demands, such as giving them a say in the number of students admitted to universities. And the really tragic thing is that professors’ refusal to engage in this dialogue is largely due to their reluctance to undergo assessment. Who would believe that, in this competitive and demanding era, professionals with the serious role of instructing the younger generation (using the basic technique of regular assessment) could refuse to undergo such an evaluation? They might as well accept that they are no longer interested in improving their knowledge and performance, and are quite happy to rest on their laurels with their chief aim being to keep the post and its concomitant benefits. Greek universities are the only ones in Europe where the assessment of professors is not compulsory. Surely this indicates that the level of our universities is generally low and cannot compete on the international level.