OPINION

Students or clients?

The mere fact that we are discussing whether candidates who fail to achieve a minimum pass grade should be allowed to enter university shows that there is no consensus over criteria. It goes without saying that students who fail to surpass the minimum threshold are not qualified for the demands of tertiary education. In the past, when universities and technical colleges had fewer slots, even good students did not get in. Much has happened since then. The government founded many new universities, technical colleges and all sorts of departments without really following a structured plan. As a result, the number of slots at tertiary institutions exceeds job market demand for graduates. Also, there are simply not enough talented students to fill so many places. The root of the problem is that Greece’s senior high school serves only as a prep school for university. The only students who don’t graduate from school are those who drop out. In small communities, even those who haven’t even touched their textbooks eventually manage to get a degree. If there were a credible evaluation system and if the school certificate really meant something, there would be no need for a minimum pass mark. But the truth is that the document is no more than a meaningless proficiency certificate. The government is also faced with complaints from local interests for trimming their student clientele. True, the numerous departments spread out across the country help local economies and cultural life. But we should keep in mind that the contribution of tertiary education to regional growth is incidental – a mockery of its mission. It’s sad to see that issues as important as education fall victim to political manipulation – a sign that the problem reaches deep into our value system.