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“Not everyone can and should go to university,” says cynical Greek PM

“Not everyone can and should go to university,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during a presentation of a new education policy package on Monday.”There are creative professions too,” he noted obviously addressing the plebs among the Greeks. It was just a year ago, when he said that children from underprivileged classes in the suburbs of western Athens should rather “be steamfitters than study at the university.”

The conservative PM proceeded with the downgrading of the public universities claimed that “one in four students at a public vocational school are university graduates. Not everyone can and should go to University. There are creative professions.”

The PΜ did not hesitate to praise the big cut of university admissions rates and the abolition of university departments, saying in a cynical way that “it is wrong to direct children to University departments that are not in high demand. This is not good for children or for the public education.”

He stressed “think of a child that will start school in the 1st grade in 2021, will finish school in 2033 and complete university studies in 2037. We need to think of how the world will then be.”

Mitsotakis added that “we must offer better education in a world that keeps changing.”

PS the world keeps changing but Greece remains stuck in being a tourism only country and in this sense the government can only offer public education for hotel, waiters, cleaners and steamfitter professions.

But university is not a pool for the labor market, unless one is neo-liberal.

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4 comments

  1. Dave van de Gevel

    Mitsotakis’ comments belong to an age long buried in the vaults of privilege & prejudice.
    I grew up on a council estate in England back in the late 50s. I eventually attended a small local grammar school, went to university to study Philosophy and Greek Classical History and Literature. All these subjects may be deemed pretty useless in the world of work. However, I went on to teach English and, latterly, became a manager in a glass company. Many of my contemporaries at grammar school were also from working class backgrounds.In my class alone, three became professors and two doctors in the field of science.
    If you want to build a prgressive and diverse economy try tapping into the resource of talent that exists in this country, not bury your head in the sand, thinking only privileged people have talent.

    • I agree totally (although I am not of working class background). Mitsotakis is a prime example of an over-educated idiot — that is, one who has been educated well beyond his/her ability to use that education effectively. You see increasingly more of it these days. I have developed a sort of radar to pick up on individuals who *sound* as if they know what they are talking about, but on closer inspection clearly understand very little or nothing. This is usually related to class privilege, where (private) education is being used to propel kids from rich families into top jobs, and especially in politics.

      Probably, Mitsotakis has heard somewhere about the problem across the EU for the last 15 years or more with mismatched skills: too many people graduate in subjects that have not prepared them for finding work without further training. Specifically, not enough people study highly technical subjects concerned with IT or other things that are much in demand by employers.

      My view, as a former university professor, is that all education should provide training in various skills, many of which are transferable. Moreover, a university or college education is a preparation for life — not simply for employment. The latter view, which Thatcher espoused, is a disgusting neoliberal approach: you are valuable only as a commodity in a marketplace.

      Having said that, there are clearly a lot of people who cannot benefit much from advanced education, owing to their limited abilities in certain areas. That includes children from families with well-known names, such as Mitsotakis or Papandreou.

  2. A good University Education should produce graduates with expert knowledge of their chosen subject but more importantly with some moral expertise and self knowledge, enabling them to esteem people for who they are whether from so called “privileged” or even “deprived” backgrounds. Graduates should have the moral strength to refrain from stooping so low that they arrogantly classify those they do not understand as “idiots”
    Bear in mind a person must be one to recognise another!
    Truly educated people are balanced and do not judge their peers on where they came from.

    Top quality talented people have emerged from all walks of life. Many did so by self-educating and have contributed richly to society, proving that, valuable as it may be to many and wasted on others, not everyone needs to be spoon fed their knowledge and expertise in life. The self-educated got there through hard work, dedication, determination, self-sacrifice and prove that not everyone needs a University education.

    Let’s not forget the countless millions who are the backbone of a country by being content to fill the roles that do not place them in the lime-light yet prove them to be selfless, loyal, and dedicated to the rest of mankind, indescriminately with or without certificates of honour.