OPINION

Responsibilities

You don’t need to be a pupil in the final year of senior high school to recognize the effort and anxiety Greek children invest in the endeavor to get accepted into university. Every year, exam time confirms how heavily the burden weighs on pupils and their families, especially in the case of candidates trying to storm the most serious and sought-after schools. Lessons, cramming schools, endless hours of study, and psychological pressure are all involved, making it hard for anyone to manage, let alone those experiencing the unavoidable tensions of adolescence. It cannot be denied that this trial has a positive side, familiarizing youngsters, however roughly, with the need for hard work and with the brutal reality of untrammelled competition. Yet seeing all this effort, one cannot help but look at the summit these young people are struggling to conquer. What are these universities? Is the reward at all proportionate to the prolonged toil needed to win a place among the student body? Kathimerini is not among those who dismiss all Greek institutes of tertiary education as unworthy. Despite increasing signs of decline, there are schools that maintain high standards. As for the average level of tertiary education, however, one cannot help but think that our children make superhuman endeavors for something that doesn’t seem worth so much effort. It is not just the shortages of infrastructure that are to blame, or the excessive student numbers in some schools. It is also the priorities of the teaching staff, who seem to disregard their teaching responsibilities and to operate more in a spirit of factionalism, reflected in everything from the choice of teaching staff to the election of university officials. At the close of the academic year, we have seen this spirit in extreme form, with continual absences and rallies, easily decided on since the autonomy of tertiary institutes means there is no risk of any resort to justice. This logic has brought universities to a halt. Now moderates are being sidelined and there is a determination to spoil the June examination period, «to teach the government a lesson.» Long gone are the golden days of academic responsibility. One hopes that the pupils who are still taking exams are concentrating so much on their own Calvary that they don’t see what awaits them when they succeed.