On education, degrees and politics


This is Andrew. He has a degree as a technician in Networks and Telecommunications. He moved to Germany two years ago, in search of a job. This is the first time he returned to Greece since he left, and that’s just for a two week vacation. After those two carefree weeks, it’s back to a plane and a low-income position in a Greek-owned restaurant.
We were eating pizza in a local pizzeria, when the waitress there noticed my camera. “How nice”, she said, “I want to get a degree in photography some day!”. No, I told her, you want a degree in business management! Why’s that, are there no photography jobs anymore, is that it?, she wondered. I tried to explain that no matter how good you are as a photographer, if you can’t create and sustain your business (promoting your work, creating contacts and getting in touch with potential customers, landing contracts with clients etc.), you won’t succeed in having a steady income that can sustain your needs. I believe that money spent acquiring those skills will have a better payoff in the long run than money spent purely on getting a degree in photography. But that’s subject matter for another post.

In this post, I’d like to share some thoughts on the educational system and our perception of it.
Why is it, that one friend of mine has a Social Worker’s degree and is selling clothes in a stockhouse, and another has the same degree and is now on her Doctorate with a scholarship, after acquiring her Master? Surely you can’t blame the Institute. But can I really blame my first friend for getting a degree that she didn’t really wanted in the first place?
And how can I not be left dumbfounded when I found out that my cousin dropped out of the same Department (Informatic Applications in Management and Economy) as the one I also attended, with only his thesis remaining in order to graduate? He already had a job that was making him money, he told me, by fishing along with his father on their caique, so he wasn’t interested in graduating.

We live in a society where parents force their kids through a 12 year school system plus a 4 year (at least) college course in order to obtain a degree, hoping that that degree on itself will provide an adequate income (if converted in a corresponding job position, that is). Sadly, a very small percentage of kids really want to study in the field where they ended up via the exams system. While I really doubt that a 17 year old really has the ability to consciously and realistically choose a career for himself, unfortunately I can’t think of a better system. But that doesn’t mean that the system currently in place isn’t flawed.
It’s messed up really.

Many scattered thoughts on the subject, and it’s hard for me to convey them appropriately, so I’ll put a full stop here, sharing with you this very (very) interesting video that explains things far more better than I can.

Another problem in my country, is the presence of political parties inside the Higher Education facilities (Universities and Technology institutes), in the form of Youth Parties. Sadly, again, those parties can influence the course and quality of the education received, and even more sadly they are a major influence on the formulation of the political thinking of a young adult who just obtained the right to vote.
Unfortunately, the current system in place (Universities and Institutes funded by the public) is under attack via the current policy conducted by the right-winged government (which is, funds being cut and the public education system left to rot), and there is a huge effort in introducing private institutions that require tuition fees for entering. Taking a look in the American system, where students are buried under a huge amount of debt in order to cover those tuition fees, long after they’d graduated, one can clearly see why this is a very bad idea.

All these are some thoughts that emerge after conversations with friends and while seeing again the following set of photos I took in my city’s University buildings, on the occasion of the celebration of its 50 years of operation. It was founded in 1964, one of the largest in Greece, consisting of 4 major schools and twenty two departments. It lies at about 5km NE of the city center, on an expanse of 4.5 square kms. Take a look for yourself…

… and feel free to share your thoughts on the matter.

Thank you, once again, for your visit
Until next post,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s