OPINION

Education reform before more funds

No one questions the view that education is underfunded in Greece. Nor can anyone seriously argue that despite the country’s fiscal problems the government should not focus on making a generous increase to expenditure on education. The problem is that no one knows how to prioritize the funding. And that’s because the needs in this sector are unmapped. Even the political leadership is in the dark. Nothing has been evaluated. No one knows how effective the current, though small, investment is. We don’t know what percentage of this investment goes to waste. Given these circumstances, any increase to spending on education will be a shot in the dark. Since the process of education is not being evaluated, we cannot know, for example, which university has the greater need, or which technical college is wasting taxpayers’ money and students’ time. Blindly increasing funds might benefit deserving sectors but will also make existing problems greater. That’s why increasing funds must go hand-in-hand with reforms, especially when it comes to evaluating the education process itself. We must first find out what is being done properly, so it can receive the proper financial support, and what is not being done properly, so we can correct it. The demand to increase funds for education is a reasonable one. Perhaps even teachers’ demands for higher wages are also just. But without reforms, pouring funds into the education system will be like pouring water into a leaking pot.