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Failure Becoming the Norm in Greek Education

The underwhelming performance of Greek students in the latest PISA (the acronym stands for Program for International Student Assessment) competition organized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development likely did not come as a surprise. 

The recurring acknowledgment that our country consistently ranks below average among OECD country scores in all three assessed sections of the competition is increasingly being accepted as the norm.

However, the analysis of the competition’s results, as presented by journalist Apostolos Lakasas in Kathimerini on Tuesday, brings to light the underlying causes of this persistent failure and prompts reflection. 

Firstly, the disheartening reality is that students approach the competition with relative indifference and apathy, impacting their overall performance. They seem oblivious to the fact that, as a social and age group, they are falling behind their peers in other countries. 

Notably disappointing is the alignment of this indifference with the sentiments expressed by educational union representatives. Consequently, a tool that should be instrumental in drawing conclusions for necessary reforms and priorities in the education system’s development, engaged in constant dialogue with emerging challenges, is essentially neutralized from the outset.

A second equally significant observation is that, in this specific competition, the performance of students in private schools significantly outshines that of students attending public schools. Beyond differences in operation, curriculum and staffing, there is a clear correlation with socioeconomic inequalities that impact student performance. Is this yet another failure of the public education system in Greece? 

For decades, the public education system supported the upward social mobility of large segments of the population. Can it continue to fulfill this role today? Doubtful, as the analysis of the competition results also suggests that the focus on success in specific university departments, often pursued through tutoring, undermines secondary education’s role in providing students with a well-rounded education and comprehensive knowledge.

The observations on the competition results consistently highlight distortions such as the lack of teachers, absence of evaluation and supervisory mechanisms, and guild mentalities. It is a continuous call for help that remains unanswered.

Source : Ekathimerini