The nationwide Pan-Hellenic (Panelladikes) technical school and university entrance exams (beginning Friday)once again bring to the forefront the travails of the education system in our country.
Just coincidentally, the day university entrance exams begin is also when Education Minister Kostas Gavroglu’s draft legislation on structural changes in the education system – a key element of which is the abolition of the evaluation of teachers – will be debated in parliament.
Beyond the anxiety of candidates and their families, few can doubt that schools are not fulfiling their role. They neither prepare students for the Panelladikes, nor do they equip students with the knowledge necessary to be able to survive and compete with other students in a constantly transforming world.
Greek families experience the consequences of the current situation and pay a heavy toll. There is a flourishing industry of tutoring firms, with a huge cost at an economically difficult time, as the vast majority of those applying for university admission resort to these to prepare for the Panelladikes exams.
For a large segment of the student population, the last year of high school is almost cosmetic, as the weight of the learning process is shifted to the private tutors.
For year, laws have come and gone, and there have been proclamations from the entire political spectrum about upgrading the education system, but the situation remains unchanged.
Even though everyone acknowledges that the education system is the greatest investment in the country, it has proven impossible to create even a basic framework of consensus on the changes that are needed.
The only thing that survives steadily is the proclivity of governments to level any positive reforms that were introduced in the past.
According to Mr. Gavroglu, the evaluation of teachers is a pretext for layoffs, and not a necessary process for upgrading the quality of education.
Once again, he is adopting the demands of a segment of trade unionists, turning evaluations into a bogeyman instead of an incentive.
With opportunistic moves and petty partisan criteria, however, education and the younger generation will continue to suffer.
Those who manage to transcend the obstacles and the lack of meritocracy will go abroad to offer their knowledge.
All the while, our political leaders will continue to express their devotion to upgrading the education system.