Online People

Friday, October 18, 2013

CHILDREN AS POLITICAL FOOTBALL FODDER


                            HOW TO MESS UP YOUNG GREEK MINDS
                                                                                                                             

Let us recall what Heinrich Kissinger is credited by Yannis Marinos with saying:

The Greek people are a difficult if not impossible people to tame, and for this reason we must strike deep into their cultural roots: perhaps then we can force them to conform. I mean, of course, to strike at their language, their religion, their cultural and historical reserves, so that we can neutralize their ability to develop, to distinguish themselves, or to prevail, thereby removing them as an obstacle t our strategically vital plans in the Balkans, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.

The best long-term defence of any country is its education system and more specifically, how well educated its children are.
Bilderberger Anna Diamantopoulou, infamous for suggesting that English be an official language of Greece, was Education Minister from 2010 until 2012. Her hit-and-run tactics are now proving damaging to Greece’s children and family life. Not satisfied with having tried to make English an official language of Greece (like ex-British colonies!), she then proceeded to ensure that there were not enough schoolbooks for children. But that is nothing compared to the latest horror, namely the so-called examinations to enter Experimental Schools. She may well be sniggering on the sidelines in her villa, while Arvanitopoulos tries to pick up the pieces, but the children who have been damaged are certainly not sniggering. Nor are their parents.

Originally set up as ‘schools of excellence’, the children were chosen by lottery, so as to ensure a normal cross-section of pupils. All very well and good. But then Diamantopoulou passed a law making them elitist. Also fine: after all, there are strong intellectual arguments for some state schools to take only the best-performing pupils, rather like the once respected Grammar Schools of England. Thus as of this summer, many children found themselves taking a competitive examination in mathematics and grammar to gain a place at an Experimental School. With the economic crisis, even some of the northern Athens tax-avoiding business community decided to pay for their children to be privately coached – often illegally, by state teachers in the know – to pass the Experimental School examinations, leave their expensive private schools, and get a superior education on the cheap. 

Well, so far, so good, apart from a detail which apparently escaped Diamantopoulou’s allegedly PASOK equal rights brain: those pupils who were already at the Experimental Schools would also have to pass the examination to remain in their own school. The results were devastating.

The parents of many pupils in the Experimental Schools simply did not have the money to pay for the extra coaching for their children to pass the examination, unlike some tax-avoiding fat cats in the northern suburbs.

At the Experimental School of Plaka, out of forty five pupils in the gymnasio, only eight passed to the Lykeio. The remaining thirty eight have to find other schools. A terrible wrenching of young hearts and brains. Worse than that, some siblings have been split. These children of our future have been disoriented, been forced to leave their schoolfriends, and been emotionally destabilised. The harsh measures, using young adolescents as political footballs, are anti-family and cruel. Futures have been damaged. The law is clearly the result of incompetence, thoughtlessness and a lack of tactility. It seems that the schools are living up to their name, by experimenting with our children, but not in the way intended.

Will Mr. Arvanitopoulos have the courage to amend the law, so as to exclude those of our children who had already been selected by lottery from taking the examination, to send those who failed the examination back to their experimental school, and to prevent this happening again? You can’t blame the Germans for this, this is home-grown damage, Greek masochism in full swing. Will the minister show that he cares for our children, and for education, Greece’s best defence?

2 comments:

  1. Congratulations on this article, which I have read in the October 2013 issue of the ELT NEWS, Dr Mallinson! I have written an e-mail on this issue back in 2011, too - see: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Byzbe27qMP1LNGI3Zkx4SjdKVVk/edit?usp=sharing

    ReplyDelete
  2. THANKS VERY MUCH. I HAVE READ YOUR LETTER, WHICH I FOUND VERY GOOD. IAM AFRAID THAT WE ARE LIVING IN DIRTY TIMES.

    ReplyDelete