European Commission Report Slams Education in Greece



16s2sxol1-thumb-largeEducation in Greece is on a downhill slope and Greek students fare worse than the EU average, says the European Commission “Education and Training Monitor 2016” report.

According to the report, the new all-day school does not include an educational program, the teacher evaluation in public and private schools was wrongly abolished, student performance in reading and digital literacy is below par and spending cuts in education are counterproductive.

Specifically, previous education minister Nikos Filis stopped the evaluation of teachers in public and private schools. “Given the positive impact they can have in the autonomy and accountability in educational performance, it is alarming that evaluation procedures (self-evaluation for schools and individual evaluation of teachers have been suspended), even in private education.”

Regarding the all-day school system implemented this year, the report says it is a downgrade. “It will apply to a greater number of schools, but in fact it is a less ambitious version of the all-day school that existed previously. The system does not provide for the organization of integrated afternoon activities after the end of the morning classes, as originally planned.”

Furthermore, young people lack in skills such as reading and math. “Their performance is disappointing, as reflected in PISA international competitions.” Also, Greece is ranked 26th among the 28 EU member states in digital economy and society index for 2016 and the participation of adults in education amounted to 5.7% in 2015, a far cry from the average 10.7% of the EU.

In addition, teachers are aging and badly paid. “Half of teachers (49%) in primary education are over 50 years old and fewer than 1% are under 30. In secondary education, 39% are aged 40-49 years. Wages are lower in real terms than in many other OECD countries and by the end of 2017 they will remain unchanged in order to cut state expenditures.

Regarding the restructuring plan for higher education failed, since in practice it did not lead to the expected economic rationalization. Autonomy of universities and higher education is reduced and the role of University Councils has been downgraded.

On spending cuts in education, general government expenditure on education amounted to 4.4% of GDP in 2014, compared to 4.9% of the European average.

On the positive side, the report notes that the rate of school drop-outs decreased from 9% in 2014 to 7.9% in 2015, well below the average of 11% of the EU 28.