Teachers on strike

For the last week all the kinds of teachers in Greece are on strike. Remember that in Greece teachers of public schools and universities are paid by the government as most of the education is free.

When I was a student I remember that we had strikes by our teachers at least 2-3 times a year. Each time they were asking for more money, and teachers in Greece are getting paid well above the average professional (something that is not true in USA). They keep asking for more money instead of actually asking to fix the Education itself. I can’t stand the fact that in the Greek education system students must remember whole books WORD BY WORD in order to get a seat in a university instead of actually putting the students to THINK FOR THEMSELVES and solve problems based on what they were taught. In France students can get to a university just by having a high school diploma. But in Greece getting to a university it means “a guaranteed social worker’s job in the future”, and so they try to limit the positions. There are no real colleges in Greece (IEKs are pretty much a joke and offer very few professional opportunities) and so it means that if you are not among the ~3,500 that make it into a university each year, you better get married and do children, your life is over in terms of further education (except if your parents have the cash to send you to UK or Italy’s unis).

Except of the above, the other thing that I hate in Greece is the system of its social workers. In USA and elsewhere being a social worker is a low-paying job as it’s a low-skilled job. In Greece, you can live like a king instead, if you manage to become a social worker because you have a well-paid job for life (there was a law since 1920 that social workers can not be fired unless they do something really-really bad — not sure if this law has changed yet). So basically you can have some very bright people finishing a university or an engineering school and be jobless for YEARS (until they get a position as a social worker) and then you can have some freaking idiot with the right political connections getting a social worker’s job and making it for life. But even if the person did not use “connections” to get a social worker’s job, the fact that everyone strives to get such a job one way or another is a bad idea for the country’s future. No one creates anything in Greece except feta cheese, olives and tomatoes. Because the right people are never given the opportunity to CREATE, neither they want to, because being a well-paid social worker is EASY LIFE. The whole system is functioning in a way that doesn’t push progress.

I wish that the Greek government takes the hard decision to FIRE all these THOUSANDS of teachers who are not going to return to work in 2 days time, and IMMEDIATELY RECRUIT the thousands that are awaiting to get recruited as teachers (there is a waiting list for teachers, it’s easy to find them and recruit them in no-time).

It is appaling having the country’s children missing days and days of education just because their teachers want more money (from the tax payers), when they already are getting paid way more money than most other Greek professionals. At least if these teachers were fighting for a better education and exam ways, it would be justifiable, as this is a point where Greece suffers.

No, I don’t like USA’s way either: education here is very expensive. But at least the teachers here make sure they do their job right, or they lose it on the spot. A system like France’s or Germany’s or UK’s is probably the best.

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Apotheosis wrote on September 27th, 2006 at 2:27 AM PST:

Unfortunately it is not very good in the UK either, but for different reasons. Teachers are badly paid, so not many people actually want or pursue a teaching career. Also, believe it or not, in quite a few places in the UK it is actually dangerous to work as a teacher, since te PC society prevalent in here gives the children more rights than the teachers and teachers are not protected from bullying (yes, kids very often bully teachers here), idiot bullying parents or bully children, and other problems.


KCorax wrote on September 27th, 2006 at 6:27 AM PST:

Geez Eugenia if you are so seriously detached from the ongoing reality of the country then at least express some doubt or reservation in your comments.

Teachers are currently the lowest paid class of civil servants, faring at -40% from the average salary. A highschool teacher after 30 years of service makes 1350E. I as an undergraduate CS student make much more — whenever I choose to work. Simply put civil servants’ salaries are ridiculously low.

The exams that get you in Universities now contain more than 3/4ths closed type questions, such as filling blanks, matching, true-false etc. These can *not* be solved by learning stuff to the letter.

The parts that are testing memorization and text processing are tested for semantic completeness or expansion over the given issue. As for solving, well *no other country in Europe does our highschool math and physics*.

If the kind readers have doubts then solve this: Integral(z/(z^2-1),z,|z|=2)=2*p*i. The z is a complex number not an integer.

Civil servants’ positions became permanent due to a decision that was made back in the 80s to combat the fact that each government fired a good 15% of the people to hire their supporters. Ever since each worker has a permanent seat as long as his position is justifiable in the organization. Everyone else is hired on 6 month contracts.

The actual problem that you miss, is that low salaries and massive civil services are hiding the unemployment of certain parts of the country. On the other hand, this is the case in most of eastern Europe.

IEKs are equivalent to the UK term polytechnics. They are indeed a joke. There are colleges in Greece and they are called ‘Technical Educational Institutions’ (TEIs).

You really have to try if you want to stay jobless after an engineering degree, and especially in this school. All the IEEE disciplines are supported by the TEE, Technical Chamber of Greece. If someone is inefficient he is denied the ability to do his work. It’s cruel if you think about it.

And this one I saved for the end:
> No one creates anything in Greece except feta cheese, olives and tomatoes.

Sometimes you make me see red. I often find it difficult to contain my anger but anyway:

We also make ships Eugenia. The number of ships under Greek owners is more than the sum of ships available in the entire Europe, or US (not combined).

This is also the primary problem with high tech investments, they are never as immediatelly profitable as the same investment in ships.


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Eugenia wrote on September 27th, 2006 at 6:39 AM PST:

>Teachers are currently the lowest paid class of civil servants, faring at -40% from the average salary.

Sorry, I do not believe that. They make more than that. And besides, before you say that $1350 is good or bad salary, don’t forget that others in Greece make only $550 a month. That’s how much my mother does as an unskilled worker and she works 8 to 8.5 hours a day. My brother does not make more than $900 as an electrician. My sister in law does not make more than $650 as an accountant. And then you f*cking tell me that $1350 is low? It’s a NORMAL salary *for Greece* for a skilled job.

>If the kind readers have doubts then solve this: Integral(z/(z^2-1),z,|z|=2)=2*p*i.

I am not talking about math, I am talking about sociology and history. For these types of exams, remembering texts to the letter is what they want to give you a good mark. Instead, explaining or giving reasons towards a historical or political event can be much more interesting in terms understanding how “intelligent” a student really is (rather than a parrot who just writes whatever he read 1000 times before “as is”).

>There are colleges in Greece and they are called TEI

NO. You can NOT go to a TEI just like that. You HAVE to pass the same exams that get you to a university. This is NOT what a college means. There is NO INSTITUTION in Greece that will accept high school diploma kids and yet have a good diploma with leverage itself. Rich’s people kids have to go abroad to get a recognized diploma if they can’t pass the Greek exams. This is simply unacceptable.

>The number of ships under Greek owners

Greece does not “make” ships. Greece does not have the technical ability to create modern ships from scratch. They simply import large parts from elsewhere and they own them. They don’t CREATE them (except maybe the wooden part). And I don’t mean create a small boat, but actual modern ships from the beginning to end. Greece has no way of doing that technically speaking.


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Eugenia wrote on September 27th, 2006 at 6:51 AM PST:

> Civil servants’ positions became permanent due to a decision that was made back in the 80s.

This absolutely and utterly KILLS Greece. It is unacceptable to not be able to fire a person. This is why no one really works hard. No one CARES to work hard, because they know they can’t be fired. There should be NO ONE that can’t be fired. There should be an incentive to work hard and make their best.


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Eugenia wrote on September 27th, 2006 at 7:19 AM PST:

Regarding the technical ability in Greece: except Intracom, no one else does anything technologically serious there. I was watching a documentary on TV here the other day about some stuff the Americans were building in the 1920s. 85 years later and Greece is still not able to build the same thing all of its own, they have to pay French and British engineers to do it for them. If that’s not a kick in the balls, I don’t know what the heck it is.


KCorax wrote on September 27th, 2006 at 7:57 AM PST:

> Sorry, I do not believe that.
You know best. You only left the country like a decade ago ?

$550 is very close to the unemployment fund. Your mother should consider stopping all work. An electrical framework for a new house costs 6-13k E, your brother is underpaid and should consider moving to where work is. Touché on the accountants. Considering however that their market has been saturated for over a decade, one would have acquired another skill or upgraded the existing (sworn accountants get paid sweet money). And yes 1350E is pretty f*cking low if you live in a city.

> putting the students to THINK FOR THEMSELVES and solve problems based on what they were taught
>I am not talking about math,
Some contradiction here ?

If you actually take a look at the examinations over the past 8 years (that’s how much I could fetch online in Google), answers to the tests require that the student identifies and fetches 5-6 passages of text for each answer. Other questions require that they project in the future based on the current global scene and argument for that. The issue is that students prefer to play it safe and make politically correct answers which only use the textbooks as reference. In this case indeed, being differentiated from the rest depends on how well you remember these references.

> NO. You can NOT go to a TEI just like that.
You need to score 10-14/20 on the exams. That’s as close as it gets to ‘just like that’ . I was refering to quality of education (low and technical that is).

> Rich’s people kids have to go abroad to get a recognized diploma if they can’t pass the Greek exams. This is simply unacceptable.

This is their own brain damage really. I have met plenty kids who bought a degree from reputable universities of the US in my field suck at their jobs. They don’t hold a candle to those who earned a scholarship in the same places. Guess what the latter were good material already.

> Greece does not “make” ships.
Semantics. A trade ship pays off it’s cost to it’s owner in a matter of months. The Greek ships are usually outsourced to India and Holland or assembled at the Skaramagka foundry. It’s being cost effective that drives all of these decisions. Plenty of countries buy our ‘assemblies’ just like we buy engineering expertise when needed.

> No one CARES to work hard
I’m the heir of two civil servants and honestly F*CK YOU ! In all of my childhood I’ve never spent a christmass or easter with my fatherwho works at the primary electricity corporation (DEI) because their crew was always standing by to locate and fix failures. I remember him calling from Didimotiho (we live in Athens) at the year change. He retired 4 years ago, that was our first christmas together.
My mother has a spectrum of stress related health issues, and I remember her often bringing work at home. That’s NOT the image of lazy person.

> they have to pay French and British engineers to do it for them
You realize ofcourse that OpenWave is also hiring a certain French engineer.

> except Intracom
Get over Intracom. They have minimal R&D and generally subcontract implementations of otherwise existing hardware. I often have trouble figuring out how they manage to survive. It’s the startups that are important now.

All in all, I’m not saying everything is perfect. But you seem to point out all the wrong issues and stretch them to death. Not everything is forsaken in this land.

EOF. I have to study for my univ exams tomorrow.


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Eugenia wrote on September 27th, 2006 at 8:06 AM PST:

>You realize ofcourse that OpenWave is also hiring a certain French engineer.

Yes, but they don’t hire them for all jobs. USA is able to CREATE all by themselves if they want to. Greece can’t.

>Semantics.

No it’s not semantics at all. It really bothers me the fact that Greece is in the middle ages technologically speaking. The fact that some people make money out of MANAGING ships does not make Greece any better technically.

>Your mother should consider stopping all work.

Yes. And then die out of malnutrition in the streets? Get over it. That’s how much unskilled people are getting paid outside of Athens. Between 500 and 1000 Euros per month, depending on the job.

>I’m the heir of two civil servants and honestly F*CK YOU

Maybe your parents were hard workers, but that’s not the norm. I have seen a gazillion of people in the tax offices or other civil offices just sitting on their asses all day and NOT taking a good care of the people waiting in line. There are many who don’t do their job as well as they can just because they are not afraid that they will be fired. These SHOULD be fired. There should not be ANY job that guarantees a job for life.


Ludovic Hirlimann wrote on September 27th, 2006 at 12:02 PM PST:

If they fire the ones now on strike and hire the ones witing. Don’t you think the ones waiting would be the same in the near future – say next year ?

In France they also go on strike easily – I don’t have kids so it doesn’t affect me – but most people are angry not because they strike – but because they need to take care of their kids.


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