OPINION

University degrees without guarantees

There are university departments whose certificates do not guarantee any professional rights. For instance, someone can graduate from the Department of Applied Mathematics and Physics at the National Technical University of Athens but not be recognized as an engineer in the job market. The Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE) will not register graduates of this school as members and the latter cannot work as engineers even though they have studied nanotechnology. A similar state of affairs prevails at the School of Philosophy at the University of Patras. Generally those who join this school believe that they will acquire the qualification to subsequently teach Greek, essay writing and history to secondary school students. But they are mistaken. Their school officially produces philosophers, not philologists. And the State does not hire philosophers. However, the fact that certain university departments offer degree certificates that are effectively not recognized is a matter of real concern as it goes against everything that higher education means to us. Higher education has always been considered a professional toolbox and this is why the last few years have seen an increase in the number of applicants for schools which offer a surer guarantee of employment, such as those training police officers or firefighters. But high demand pushes up the minimum pass rate and so would-be police officers, for example, need to perform increasingly well to realize their ambitions. In any case, the real issue is not the lack of professional security offered by some university departments but that this fact is not widely recognized and therefore comes as a surprise for graduates seeking a job.