The unfair lot of Greece’s students

There is a photograph, taken during the students’ protests in France in March, with a very interesting detail. It shows a student addressing the crowds from an elevated podium. But the background of the photo is not at all reminiscent of a university environment, certainly not as we know it in Greece. There was not even one banner or poster stuck on the walls. And we must bear in mind that this was a period of great upheaval for French universities. The institution in question had been under student occupation when the photo was taken. But the aesthetics of student sit-ins is not the only difference between the French incidents in March and those which took place this month in Greece. In France, the students had been protesting against a specific draft law and specific articles. Irrespective of whether they were in the right or not, they were struggling for something tangible. In Greece, students are fighting for the illusory. No one really knows the contents of draft legislation prepared by Education Minister Marietta Giannakou. There have been plenty of rumors and distortions but nothing concrete. It seems that the protests were held to champion the students’ militancy. And it is true that Greek students have every reason to be angry. It seems that every successive generation is handing down an increasingly worse state of affairs to its youth. And it is this anger which is the driving force behind historical change. Thankfully our students are realists while also struggling to achieve the impossible. Every change, every reform is preceded by imagination. But this does not mean that our students are always in the right. Indeed, very often they are exploited to serve the aims of those in power, such as the preservation of an unhealthy climate (like the one predominant in Greek universities at the moment). It is not that the students’ protests have been incited by third parties. It’s much worse. The students are being exploited by teachers seeking to avoid evaluation, by the far left, which wants the education sector to remain under the oppressive control of the state, and others.

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