The Insidious Dismantling of Greece’s Universities

 


It is disgraceful that Greece's Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and Minister of

Education, Niki Kerameus, are discrediting and devaluing Greek public universities for

the benefit of questionable private colleges.

 

The first step and gift to private college owners was granting equivalent credit status of

their diplomas with public university degrees. This ludicrous upgrading was not based

on qualitative elements. It was a provocative devaluation of the country's higher

education institutions.

 

The second gift by the Mitsotakis government to private college owners was this year's

irrational legislation regarding the Panhellenic Examinations, which resulted

in prohibiting 40,000 students from enrolling in public universities – even students of

high academic performance! Consequently, many university faculties are forced to close

down due to decreased enrolment. This government action was done in order to

channel students to private colleges!

 

Especially this year, amidst a brutal pandemic, when schools hardly operated, this blow

to the youth has a huge social impact. Certainly, it does not concern the rich families,

since they can afford to send their children to study abroad, like the wealthy Prime

Minister himself who downplays the value of public Greek universities.

 

The blow is to thousands of families of limited resources, whose children will have to

either enrol in private colleges of dubious academic quality, or apprentice in a technical

school, or be forced to take minimum wage jobs and be deprived of having a better

future.

 

Additionally, Mitsotakis has stated that children in poorer areas would only be expected

to become air conditioning installers or elevator maintenance workers, while children of

rich areas may aspire to be scientists, politicians, etc.!

 

When the prime minister of the country boasts about his studies in American

universities (which were handsomely funded by his father), without ever uttering a good

word about Greek universities, it is at the very least shameful and sad. Unsurprisingly,

the Minister of Education shares the same views as the Prime Minister.

 

I am not biased against universities abroad or private schools. I am opposed, however,

to the discrediting of Greek public universities, because, on one hand, I have personal

experience of both and, on the other, I know very well that graduates of public Greek

universities working abroad are highly appreciated and distinguished for their training

and knowledge.

 

Furthermore, the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and the Aristotle

University of Thessaloniki are ranked among the best 249 universities worldwide (more

than 25,000 in total) followed by the National Technical University of Athens. Eight more

Greek universities are in the top 987 worldwide.

 

Ms. Kerameus had the audacity to state, "private colleges will help Greek universities

become better due to the competition"! That is blatantly untrue and reprehensible. This

government is sacrificing everything to appease the affluent oligarchy, as well as line

their own greedy pockets. Even if some private colleges do have some credibility, how

will parents afford their tuition fees? Are these the big investments New Democracy had

advertised?

 

Mitsotakis' anti-grassroots policy manifests itself more every day. Democracy is being

transformed into a monarchy and members of parliament are becoming courtiers.


Angela Kabouris

Philologist-Linguist