OPINION

Education on a class basis?

Higher education has always been a safe route up the social ladder and a means of redistributing income. Through the process of education, even the most hopeless could attain social standing and hope for a better future. The mighty public university was the best mechanism for leveling class discrepancies. State universities, which we should treasure and protect, were repeatedly subject to socialist experimentation and have now become a safe haven for a privileged few. This has taken a hefty toll on the future of public universities. Universities no longer pass on the torch of knowledge but produce scores of unskilled graduates. University degrees are no longer a passport to social betterment but a road to the unemployment line. Instead of advancing social equality, they reproduce and deepen the rifts. Those who can afford to can always go abroad for their tertiary education, while the less well-off are crammed into the discredited Greek institutions. It is rather surprising, therefore, to see those who preach social justice kicking out at any effort to reform the education system. The ideological anachronisms of the Left are destroying the only chance of those they are supposed to be defending. Using over-the-top rhetoric to push for the removal of the minimum entry threshold (such as statements by Synaspismos Left Coalition chief Alekos Alavanos in favor of allowing students who have achieved passing marks into universities) renders ineffectual the only institution that ensures equal opportunities. Had the situation in public education been less dire, the statements made by anti-reformists would be ridiculous or worse. But as things stand they are a cause for sadness. This is why the reform of public education, even if it is not bold, must go through, if only for the sake of those who the anti-reformists purport to defend.