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Wednesday, August 24, 2005 

How Much Does the Stamp Cost for an Email?

If only it were a Greek classroom.

Owning a business means you often get solicited for jobs. The fact that people ask for a job at our stores is a good thing...the fact that so few of them are barely qualified to be a store clerk is not. We aren't overly demanding in our expectations either. Our employees don't need to be MBA grads, multilinguists or even have previous work experience. We just need someone who:
  • has basic knowledge of computers and home entertainment systems
  • has an interest in movies
  • has a basic grasp of english (since 90% of our movies, games and entertainment system instruction manuals) are in the English language
  • can be flexible with working hours
  • appears to be responsible and honest

Many of the hopeful candidates do meet 3-4 of the requirements. Incredibly enough, they don't meet the most important requirement...basic computer knowledge. Many of them have never used a computer in their lives let alone know how to differentiate between hardware and software. I tell them repeatedly that their degree in biology, french, or visual arts is of no use to us without unless they can boot the PC, launch the store software, backup the transactions to the Zip and explain the difference between RAM and a hard drive to a potential purchaser. My 11 year old son can do all of this. He's had a computer since he was 7. It's astonishing that a 21 year-old university graduate can't.

What's even more puzzling to me is that they don't even see a problem with their computer illiteracy. I ask them how they expect to even get a job at Pizza Hut without knowing how to use a computer. They believe that computers are overrated and therefore, my shock over their lack of computer skills is unwarranted.

To top it all off, I have never ONCE received a curriculum vitae from any of them. When I ask them to email it to me when they get it, they blankly stare at me. "Email? You mean fax?" It's that bad.

Is the Dept. of Education and the schools themselves to blame for this gross oversight in the child's curriculum? Yes, I do believe they are partially responsible since not enough importance is placed on computer literacy and the need to prepare our children for a global workplace. I've asked my son's PTA why there aren't computer lessons in the curriculum for all the children instead of it being treated as a fee-based extracurricular activity for a dozen children on 3 outdated computers . They say that there just isn't enough money to get them. I can appreciate that given that Greece spends the least amount of money on public education in the EU. This year, I'm going to propose to my son's school that we attempt some sort of fundraiser or sponsorship deal with local business for new computers. Where there's a will, there must be a way. Unfortunately, it's easier to find the ways than the will in others.

Parents are also partially responsible. I've tried to convince many parents at the stores to buy a starter PC for their children instead of a PlayStation console which is roughly the same price (once you factor in the cost of a memory stick, game and remote control). So far, it's a lost cause. Parents have told me they were raised without a computer and they got along just fine without one. They've told me that since they know nothing about computers, their child will only meet paedophiles on the Internet. Apparently, ballet and karate lessons are the keys to a child's employment success rather than computer literacy. This prevalent attitude must change before our children find the doors of employment opportunity closed to them in adulthood.

Oh Irony

It's at least amusing, or pathetic, take your pick.

One of the majpr problems is that even people who have a PC at home don't have a connection to the internet because the companies price people out of the market! You should see the prices charged for ADSL access in Greece compared to other countries! If the prices were more affordable, more people would be 'online'. As they are not, then kids would rather opt for the playstation or x-box!

Well, that is definitely something I noticed about Greece. Computer households seem to be rare, and internet households even more rare. I can't blame them on the internet thing, I mean, dialup is charged per hour by the phone company, my husband and I have had some pretty expensive bills. ADSL is, ironically, ending up cheaper for us.

Most of our landlords have been in awe and even frightened by our small network of 2 desktops and a laptop. Obviously, having more than one computer here is even more rare.

Now, when I went to high school in America (about *cough* 20 years ago) computers were just starting to get their due. We didn't have computer classes unless it was an elective, and computer classes were all BASIC programming and..icky stuff. I don't know exactly how, but I learned how to use a computer pretty easily. I started on a Mac and I guess having a boyfriend extremely skilled in PC building and use helped. But I can't imagine being young and surviving without computer skills these days.

You mentioned trying to get local businesses to partner with schools to get computers in the Greek classrooms.

Don't you sell computers at your store? heh

xoxo
HRH Queen Bee

We actually tried to give DVDs and a DVD player to one school in one store's neighbourhood about 6 months ago and as of today, we still have heard nothing from the principal. The teacher would have loved to have it to help her with her history and geography lessons but apparently, the principal isn't so keen on "new technological fad teaching aids." Nothing is ever easy in this country it seems.

I forgot to mention...I really like the addition of photos to your blog. Nice touch.

On another note, you should check out The Yes Men. Have you heard of them? They sound like a group tailor-made for you. They are anti-WTO activists who employe "identity correction" to expose the REALITY behind big corporations and government initiatives. It's kind of funny. You can see their website here:
http://www.theyesmen.org/

They also create mirror sites for the WTO (www.gatt.com) and www.gwbush.com

Check it out. They sound like your kind of people. LOL

xoxo
HRH Queen Bee

Seawitch,

The people in Greece who use email won't be working at Pizza Hut or your store. They will try and get into real jobs (their words) and get paid the big bucks.

Until email and computer knowledge becomes a necessity, people will think that only the elite need it.

But, for what it's worth, my Mom in America wouldn't know how to use email either and doesn't want to.

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