Meritocracy? Why, of course

A clientelistic state? Bitter partisanship? Giving every assistance to our own? An absence of meritocracy? Kickbacks galore? No way! We got rid of all this old politics nonsense years ago. We’re in Europe now. We are Europe. Who you know, what party you belong to, your edge no longer count. And that uncle you once relied on, well, even he’s gone into retirement and his days of calling the shots are over. We are precisely where so many prime ministers said we would be, one after the other, in all the years that have passed since the fall of the dictatorship – in a polity of equality before the law and meritocracy, or in more lay terms, a state of equal opportunity. All that counts are your studies, your labor potential and your certified position on the university grading scale. We have plenty of evidence. The most recent in an enormously long list is an elementary school principal in Grava who lost a post because she failed to pass an interview – naturally, it was an objective and honest interview. Her students, and their parents, are protesting. They are protesting because they were the first to evaluate, in their own strict and just way, her suitability as principal and whether she was worthy of the title, rather than expecting her title alone to elevate her to VIP status. The VIPs in the Education Ministry, though (more or less the same people who announced new hirings in the middle of the summer holidays, after having notified some candidates earlier) rushed to explain that the interview is held in order to evaluate the teacher’s personality, without bias, of course. Right. A depressing and revealing report by Apostolos Lakasas in Kathimerini on November 11 titled «Principals in staged interviews» says it all. The subtitle is more revealing: «Candidates’ party colors outweigh essential qualifications.»