OPINION

Lacking purpose, TEIs fail education

We used to worry that Greek universities and technical colleges (TEI) produced degrees that were of no or of little value. Now, statistics from the Education Ministry have given us further reason for concern. Many of the TEIs, which have been scattered pointlessly around the provinces, don’t even produce a piece of paper that Greek students can frame and put on their walls. Some departments are full of first-year students but have no graduates. The popular and historical music department of the TEI in Epirus, which has seen just two graduates from a student body of 264, is just the tip of the iceberg. The problem with the tertiary education system in Greece is that it has ballooned out of proportion to cover its own shortcomings. On the pretext of decentralization and in pursuit of votes, departments were created on exotic subjects that do not correspond either to the needs of the market or, it seems, to those of students. The result is that the small amount of money that is available for education in Greece is allocated so that a few local individuals can boast before elections that they managed to get some so-called educational institution established in their electorate. The ill-judged decentralization of tertiary education has brought about a string of disquieting circumstances. There are, for example, TEIs that have students but no teachers. Others have neither teachers nor students, but are virtual institutions that hope to grow up to become universities or TEIs. Greece cannot wait. If it is to have a future, it must have properly trained scientists and technicians. Only a bold educational reform can achieve that. Besides, that is what the government promised the Greek people in its election campaign.