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Monday, September 12, 2005 

Education Without Books and Teachers

School's started. Somebody better tell the Greek Education Ministry.

There are billions of euros for useless OTE employees. There's a half billion euros for restructuring other Balkan countries. There are billlions of euros to fund the 2004 Olympics Sinkhole. So why is it that my son started school this morning without a teacher and only half his schoolbooks?

On May 30, it was reported that the Education Ministry didn't acquire the 15,000 tons of paper required to print the textbooks. I blogged that embarrassment back in July. While the education minister, Marietta Giannakou claims that her ministry has acted on the issue of filling empty positions in time, reality proves otherwise. Somebody needs to explain to her that books and teachers are relatively important towards an education. Home schooling is not even an option for parents who would like to be more than just a bystander in their children's education because it's forbidden in Greece. Apparently, parents can't do the job as well as the State can. One thing's for sure, the politicians' don't have to worry because their children are not enrolled in public schools.

This is actually worse than rural America, I think. My husband and his siblings all attended private school, so what I know of the Greek educational system is limited to those experiences, which obviously don't reflect the norm.

This is an E.U. country. Greece really has to do better than that. People here want to strike for lower hours, better pay, permanent positions, whatever lame thing, and they don't care about the education of the country's children?


When my son first started school here, my husband and I debated whether or not we should send him to private or public school. I was a bit naive at the time and thought that if public school was good enough for me growing up in Canada, then it should be good enough for my son. After talking with many of our friends whose children go to private school here and the amount of money they pay, the amount of time their kids spend commuting to the school and the incredible amount of stress their under to bring home excellent grades, we decided that public school would be more than suitable. I thought that between a little extra time on my part with him each evening with his homework and some frontistirio classes as a supplement for the computer classes he wouldn't be getting would be more than enough. Now, he's in Grade 6 and I really don't know if I made the right choice. Thankfully, the teacher he had last year and will have again this year is wonderful and I believe the school is doing the best they can given what little support they get from the Education Ministry. Is it enough? Can I afford to wait another 6 years to find out. I have the sinking feeling that it won't be.

I don't envy you one bit, making sure your child has the best education is so important. I know Nashville, when I left, was having similar problems, believe it or not. There were fights to get addresses in the right districts so kids could go to the better public schools. It was a mess.

Education should be the FIRST thing any government gives its time and money to. All of our futures depend on it.

I agree with your views and the worse thing is that even the private schools are lousy, they are turning out a generation of civil servant wannabes. Every trace of creative or independent thought crushed under an endless stream of mindless testing.

Sorry about the rant, but my daughter has just started school.

teacher...thanks for visiting my blog and taking the time to post. I empathise with your position as a parent whose child is enrolled in the public school system. I wish I could tell you it gets better but it doesn't. My son is now in Grade 6 and his teachers still demand that he parrot countless pages of useless information. I wonder if the 'educators' will ever come to realize that the only way to gauge a child's knowledge of a particular subject is to let him/her speak or write it in their own words.

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