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.