Disclose their incomes

Education Minister Marietta Giannakou’s attacks on the Hellenic Federation of University Teachers’ Unions (POSDEP) for its opposition to the proposed assessment of academic staff is justified. The bill has pitted the minister against a bunch of university professors seeking to protect their vested interests. Their stance in fact blackens the image of the majority of professors. to oppose evaluation is to oppose one of education’s fundamental principles. The ongoing clash probably signals the outbreak of more reactions as the government is about to venture on a set of crucial reforms that will include banks’ pension funds and a fresh round of privatizations. In principle, a government must be flexible and open to discussion. But there is little it can do when its interlocutors appear intransigent and determined to stave off a pre-election commitment that has been approved by the majority of the public. In that case it cannot afford to back down. It must overcome resistance. That is exactly what we are seeing at this moment. Protesting academics believe they have the exclusive right to manage the universities’ state and EU funds, as well as to assess and reward their teaching work or even shut down their institutions – as they have threatened to do. Why not just let all other privileged unionists in public utilities and banks – who believe that their vested interests are in jeopardy – go out and paralyze the country? The government must stay the course by waging an all-out war on vested interests. This means disclosing the protesters’ income levels and making public the cost of this provocative inequity. It’s about time a government finally shouldered the political cost for the sake of the country. Even at the cost of its own survival.