The government is under fire from most opposition parties following its unexpected decision to repeal the years-long practice that the best students in Greek primary schools become flag-bearers in student parades.
The new decision decrees that flag-bearers would be drawn from a poll containing the names of all students, irrespective of school achievement.
The minister of Education Kostas Gavroglou defended the decision saying that holding the flag should not be a privilege reserved exclusively for good students.
“Everyone has the right to hold the flag, as well as an obligation to defend it. It’s not just the excellent students who go to the Army. Everyone goes, regardless of their performance,” Gavroglou said.
However, the opposition fired back.
Leader of New Democracy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis wrote on Twitter that “that’s how the government understands reward for effort. Equalizing everybody downwards”.
Σημαιοφόροι με κλήρωση: Ετσι αντιλαμβάνεται ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ την επιβράβευση της προσπάθειας. Εξίσωση προς τα κάτω, παντού. #Παιδεία
— Kyriakos Mitsotakis (@kmitsotakis) August 2, 2017
Prominent PASOK MP Andreas Loverdos called the new measure “anti-pedagogical” and attacked the government for being a “great enemy of excellence”.
Leader of Potami (The River), Stavros Theodorakis said that “the government regards excellence as cholera… It prefers a Balkan-style rather than a European-style education.”