OPINION

Passive approach to education in Greece

If someone wants to understand the afflictions of our education system, one need only look at the example of the Open University. Greece’s Open University is a recently established institution which may not have the history of other higher education institutions but, one presumes, it isn’t hampered by their restrictions either. Its students are educated through distance learning and therefore its lessons rely heavily on the use of the Internet. And this is the way it should be, as the Open University’s students are scattered all across the country. But although use of the Internet may be extremely widespread, there is one particular area in which there have been hardly any developments. The books that form part of individual coursework are available only in paper form and are sent to students by traditional mail; the students subsequently use their books before filing them or even throwing them away. So, instead of having a Panhellenic bookstore accessible to all students and citizens, we have a pointless squandering of funds, and of course there are many who gain through this waste: professors and publishing houses and various decision makers. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, a large group of university professors have started uploading all books that are not bound by intellectual copyright laws onto the site www.gutenberg.org. The professors also offer their own books for public use. Instead of staging endless protests to defend state education, they are making the best of the current state of affairs in order to distribute knowledge for free. Instead of waiting for state backing, they have taken the initiative themselves.