The Minister of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs, Ms Anna Diamantopoulou posted a message to our e-mail address. Below you can read the Minister’s e-mail message and the document attached to it. We kept the syntax and spelling as in the original message and document.
The Initiative of Greek Academics
Από: Minister of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ημερομηνία: 22 Αυγούστου 2011 11:32 π.μ.
Θέμα: Minister’s Response to Foreign Academics
Ανέκαθεν η συζήτηση για τη μεταρρύθμιση στην Ανώτατη Εκπαίδευση προκαλούσε αντιπαράθεση και έντονο διάλογο. Στο πλαίσιο αυτό και προκειμένου να είναι όσο το δυνατόν καλύτερα ενημερωμένη η διεθνής κοινή γνώμη και όλοι οι ενδιαφερόμενοι του ζητήματος, εκτιμώ ότι δεν θα έχετε αντίρρηση να αναρτηθεί στο ιστολόγιο σας η παρακάτω απάντηση στο κείμενο συλλογής υπογραφών ξένων πανεπιστημιακών.
Ευχαριστώ εκ των προτέρων
Υπουργός Παιδείας, Δια Βίου Μάθησης και Θρησκευμάτων
Ανδρέα Παπανδρέου 37
Defending INDEED Higher Education in Greece
There is hardly anyone objecting to the core idea of defending and strengthening Higher Education in Greece especially at this critical juncture for the country’s future. But as always, the devil hides in the details.
The expressed interest and concern of international academics for the fate of Higher Education in Greece is welcomed. However, it is quite regretful that the “supporting documents” with which non-greek speaking academics were informed and called to sign in agreement, are blatantly one-sided. They reflect opinions; they are simply editorial comments by a part of the greek academic community (leadership included) that strongly opposes this fundamental effort for reforming Higher Education in Greece. Nowhere in those documents and texts are facts and specific measures of the bill presented. Balanced information was nowhere to be found. Moreover, those documents simply distort reality as their authors, by making huge mental leaps, arrive at the gloomiest conclusions with no solid evidence whatsoever. Therefore, someone has to wonder how academics that by definition embed critical thinking and examination of facts, and not fiction, have unquestionably accepted and adopted those arguments and signed a call for withdrawing the proposed law. A law that will introduce in the country’s higher education system fundamental principles such as those that already are in place in most of the academic institutions that the undersigned serve and prosper. Thus it is indeed surprising to declare that this direction “has proven devastating for Higher Education”. In all fairness, however, it is not unexpected since the posted documents claim: “threats of closing down Universities without any strategic planning”, the “introduction of tuition fees at the undergraduate level”, or “fully surrendering administration without any counterweight to external actors”, and present as a reality the “bypassing of the constitutional obligations of the State towards public universities” and the eminent transformation of “the University into a Corporation” as well as the abolishment of “the academic character”; all in all threatening the existence of education as a public good. All of the above reflect solely the authors’ perceptions and simply do not exist, cannot be found (or even implied) anywhere in the proposed law. Actually, it is quite the contrary that the proposed bill aims to succeed.
Lastly, but not least, the new law whose basic direction has been in public consultation for over a year, instills true self governance (compatible with international standards), and allows for public funding to be directed to higher education institutions for the first time in a transparent and objective way. Thus, it ensures its outmost effective and efficient use for the benefit of students and greek society. And this is a duty that the greek government is committed to fulfill.
For further information please refer to:
1. Public Deliberation in Greek Higher Education (in English) and the International Advisory Committee on Greek Higher Education Report: http://www.minedu.gov.gr/english/education/12-04-11-report-of-the-international-committee-on-higher-education-in-greece.html
2. OECD Report, June 2011: Education Policy Advise for Greece. www.oecd.org/dataoecd/27/6/48407731.pdf