OPINION

Education and instigators

When times get tough, all governments yield to the temptation of denouncing protests and blaming incitement. Any opposition exploits such situations so as to wear down the ruling party. PASOK leader George Papandreou is doing a version of what New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis did in 2004. There is no ND or PASOK political language. There is only government and opposition language. That is why it is extremely difficult to discern whether a statement was made by the Simitis government or the Karamanlis government, by ND in opposition or by PASOK in opposition. Students tend to express their insecurity about their professional future by breaking out of their boundaries. They need the unique experience of collective intoxication. The sit-ins are fueled mainly by this collective existential need and only secondarily by their demands. If the government is looking for instigators, it can point to Education Minister Marietta Giannakou. Her intention was completely different, but intentions never suffice in politics. Lack of political sensitivity and perceptiveness led her to an own goal. For the sake of a timid draft bill, her actions triggered a furor in tertiary education institutes and were a gift to those who want stagnation. The teachers simply took advantage of a favorable climate to assert their claims. Things have reached a point where the solution is to start dialogue from scratch, with the purpose of formulating a national plan that overcomes obstacles, establishes a new mentality and upgrades education. A plan that goes beyond the horizon of the present government and that, it must be clear from the start, is to be approved by a referendum. Such a process would engender dialogue in society, obliging parties and unions to embark on serious discussion. Unfortunately, the government is persisting with its ineffectual line.