The right approach

It is said that the first step in tackling a problem is to approach it with sincerity and honesty, to step out from behind non-negotiable truths. It is also said that this presupposes an open exchange of views and arguments between the different sides. As a result, those who hold power must shed their pretensions of being the sole owners of truth (after all, we live in a democratic society, which means that they could soon be demanding what they now fail to offer, namely dialogue). Finally, it is said that education is a «national priority,» an often rehashed mantra that is heard all the way from primary school to the completion of a degree at university. If we truly believe that education is a national issue, we can only tackle education-related problems through dialogue. And if education is in sad shape, then we all carry some of the blame. If the government intended to launch a dialogue over its proposed reforms (though its decision to push the package through Parliament during the summertime shows otherwise), that never happened. The proposed legislation remains elusive, its provisions are either unclear or under constant revision, political officials have abandoned their educational role for the sake of police duties, while the experts indulge in conspiracy theories, thus obstructing true knowledge of the problem. There can be no dialogue when the protesting masses are disregarded as minorities of instigation or when the architects of the reforms claim that the sit-ins are orchestrated by Synaspismos Left Coalition or that the Communist Party is making a scapegoat of the National Education Council. If the past is any guide, education problems will remain around for quite some time to come.

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