Torpedoing the future

It’s frightening: Many students will enter the tertiary education system with unbelievably low marks. At the same time, some departments in which candidates could matriculate with less than two marks out of 20 will remain with hundreds of vacancies, as no one wants to study in them. Here the lack of personal evaluation and the lack of state planning join together and multiply their ills. Greece’s problem is not just economic, nor political – it is, above all, social. The underlying cause is the absence of personal discipline, which has cultivated a mentality that anyone could do whatever they liked, could achieve whatever they desired and could break the law without regard for minimal standards or punishment. Getting into a university or technical college without any effort is not far removed from soccer hooliganism, driving a scooter through a park or on a sidewalk, or cheating the tax office or our social security fund. This «theft» spreads over society when students do not learn, their professors do not care, when professionals are inadequately trained and bad at their jobs (but still charge customers exorbitant fees). It is no coincidence that there is such opposition to any effort to evaluate students, teachers or professionals. This mindless tolerance is not a manifestation of democracy: It undermines it. When society has no limits, there is neither good nor bad, worthy nor worthless. There is only that which imposes itself and that which suffers imposition. When illiterates enter the university system (and one day graduate, again with minimal or no effort), they undermine the reputation of the entire system and their fellow students who worked hard to attain good results. Meritocracy, though, does not stem only from the passing marks achieved. It demands schools in which pupils will be taught seriously and carefully, where they will learn the value of making an effort, of being evaluated, of discipline. It demands technical high schools with good reputations that will train competent professionals. It demands planning based on society’s needs, on the creation of opportunities for the young, so as to be a foundation for the future.