Blanket rejectionism

The education reform proposals made public yesterday by Education Minister Marietta Giannakou are a step in the right direction. For one thing, we now have a package of very specific measures with which one can agree or disagree. One would have expected that the publication of the education bill would invite cautious study and comprehensive debate among the interested parties. Instead, what we got was a reflexive rejection of the conservative government’s initiative, as students, backed by a number of academic professors, denounced the proposals out of hand. Youth party leaders (before they even had time to consult their members) rushed to reject the bill without bothering to explain their rationale. Without dialogue and without any rational arguments, they rejected the proposals that concern the future of thousands of students and, by extension, the future of the country. The minority which launched the sit-in demonstrations (before even taking a look at the proposed reforms) announced that they will not halt their mobilization. But in this way, they are not just blocking attempts to upgrade Greece’s tertiary education system, but also impinge on the rights of the silent majority and the will of the electoral majority that voted for New Democracy with a clear mandate for reform on all levels, most notably in the education sector. Protesters should put aside their easy militant slogans and enter into a dialogue on the future of universities, which is also their own future. Turning down the government’s call for dialogue using the threat of more sit-ins is not a sign of democratic behavior. It violates every notion of political legality. The Greek public wants a solution for the problems of higher education, a solution that will upgrade the country’s university institutions in line with the proposals of the committee of wise men and the Education Ministry. The government must brave the political cost, which has in the past proved the gravedigger of many necessary changes, and move on with the requisite reforms.

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