OPINION

Decentralization of tertiary education

The thankless debate on the set-up of tertiary education institutions around the country continues under pressure from mayors and associations of apartment owners, and is now entering a new phase. The government has decided to reduce the number of new students at tertiary institutions in major urban centers in favor of those in the smaller towns, where technical colleges sprang up during the previous government’s administration. So although half the country’s population lives in Athens and Thessaloniki, steps are being taken to ensure the survival of these colleges by forcing the mass transfer of students to the provinces. In other words, the haphazard distribution of tertiary faculties is to continue in a different guise, once more on the basis of non-educational criteria. This is to happen in order to benefit the owners of apartments and cafes in these provincial towns. The point is, however, that the drafting of the tertiary education map should first take into account the needs of the education system and not the financial situation of a few towns. The country’s tertiary institutions should not function as substitutes for the military camps and prisons that once provided an income for these towns. The quality of tertiary education should not be sacrificed in order to satisfy petty interests and a distorted concept of regional development. That is why the government should present a concise plan based on purely educational criteria: It should focus on the professions that the country is need of, so as to create or merge departments on the basis of those needs and not on the number of empty apartments in various towns.