Back to the drawing board

Their schoolbags stuffed with books, children across the country returned to the classroom yesterday. The younger ones believe they have more to learn from TV than from school; their older schoolmates feel the same about their cramming schools. Braving the orthopedics’ warnings, pupils showed up at schools overburdened with textbooks. Well, not quite. Many have not received their books, or at least not all of them. But there’s plenty of time until November, just as there is plenty of time (till next June) to cover the tens of thousands of vacancies for kindergarten and primary school teachers as well as professors. Thus continues one of our many precious traditions: September always catches us unprepared, no matter who is in power. It’s as if no one knows that schools, these ugly and inhospitable buildings, open their doors to pupils each September. Year after year, state officials have the look of those same bewildered first-year primary school students they are responsible for. Nevertheless, self-congratulatory statements assure that «everything is under control» and that «nothing is missing.» Marietta Giannakou, the education minister, has proved no exception. Many of the problems besetting the education system were inherited from her Socialist predecessors, who kept education spending well below 5 percent of the budget. However, given the lack of radical improvement, one would expect that the government would at least avoid self-praise. Giannakou should have no problem retrieving the statements issued by ND while it was in opposition. She would then realize that although things are the same, her party brags about what it once blamed on PASOK. The Socialists behave the same, and these problems will no doubt resurface next year. After all, it’s a long tradition.