The Challenge of Contemporary Paideia for Diaxronikes Values and Ptotoypes/Models

The Challenge of Contemporary Paideia for Diaxronikes Values and Ptotoypes/Models


Hellenic Pedagogical Cosmos, Vol. 7, no.1, May 2010


Volume 7, Number 1, May 2010

Editor’s lexis


* The Greek press on education

* The stability of the Greek education system

*Dropping out of Greek compulsory education

* Nine “bad things” about our education

* Integrating bilingual children in Greece

* “Learning how to learn” as our central theme

* A socialist reform in the Greek educational system?

* Conferences and seminars

*Higher education panorama

*Selection of published articles and books on education/pedagogy

* Public spending on education

* The “new school” in Greece today

* Especially for the parents of our students

* Sifis Bouzakis: An educationalist “in brief”

* Mistakes and feedback

* Time spend on doing homework

* Muslim immigrants in Greece

* The Hellenic Community of Montreal

The valuable assistance of “Nea Ekpaideftiria – G. Malliaras” in realizing this HPC project is greatly appreciated


Thessaloniki, 18 November 2001 (18:15 UTC+2)

European Union Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou proposed the instituting of English as a second official language in Greece, in an interview to the "Kathimerini" newspaper.

Mrs. Diamantopoulou stressed that the issue of multilingualism will directly be brought up in the European Union, and pointed out that after the enlargement Greece must prepare in time and institute English as a second official language. To those who express fears of losing cultural and national heritage from such a measure, she answers that learning to speak English as well as Greek will not hurt Greeks.

Editor’s Lexis

The central theme of this issue of HPC epitomized in the relatively simple and straightforward phrase “Learning how to learn”, has already become a quite common stimulus for analyses and reflection all over the contemporary educational scene. Irrespective of the particular stand and approach one may adopt vis-à-vis this crucial aspect of our daily educational and pedagogical practices, the fact of the matter is that from formal curricula and in-training programs for teachers to conferences/seminars and relevant publications, presentations and discussions on the different (practical) aspects of the “learning how to learn” moto, constitute the order of the day. And, to a large extent, rightly so, considering the profound developments and the continuous changes/transformations of our era world-wide.

On the other hand, as far as the Greek educational arena in particular is concerned, the present Socialist (???) Government of George Papandreou in the midst of the worst economic crisis affecting every single aspect of the Greek society at large –several groups of the less privileged people most hardly hit- through its Minister of Education Anna Diamantopoulou, has proposed and legislated a number of changes across the education system which are strongly opposed by the vast majority of classroom teachers. If nothing else, the frequent and massive strikes and protests paralyzing downtown Athens, are more than indicative of the entire ‘climate’ prevailing in Greece today. And, surely, this era of “austerity and pain” is far from over. It seems that has just started. Education and its membership at different levels could not be left out from this contemporary turmoil of crisis and uncertainty.

Finally, as our long tradition dictates, the month of May is the month of the Pan –Hellenic University Entrance Examinations for approximately 90,000 candidates. The ‘pulse’ of millions of families beats along that ‘big event’’, although, this year, the severe economic crisis and the extremely tough measures imposed by the European Community and the IMF have –for the greatest part- monopolized public discussions and Greek people’s interest for ‘bread and butter’.

Leonidas C. Bombas Athens, May 2010

Comparative Educationalist

Director of Studies, “Nea Ekpaideftiria – G. Malliaras”

Centre of Comparative Education

The Center for Comparative and International Education, Policy and Communication (CCIEPC) is a specialized unit for teaching and research, operating within the University of Athens - Department of Primary Education (8 Hersonos Str. Building, 3rd floor), following the standards of similar Centers which operate in several Universities in the United States, Europe and Australia. It derives its existence from the contemporary organizational ideas in higher education, which favour the development of specialized units that serve as the institutional basis for joined research in an interdisciplinary manner and as a vantage ground of the emerging knowledge societies.

The aims of the CCIEPC are:

  • The development and promotion of research in comparative and international education, education policy, international relations in education and the role of international organizations.
  • The promotion and development of common projects and cooperation with Greek and foreign Universities and research centers in areas of mutual interest.
  • The undertaking and the realization of research and studies on the part of Greek and foreign educational organizations.
  • The support of the academic teaching in a wide spectrum of courses taught in undergraduate and graduate levels in the Department of Primary Education of the University of Athens, such as: Comparative Education, European Dimension in Education, European Integration and Education, Political History of European Education, Distance Education, Administration and Governance of Education, Educational Management (undergraduate level), Educational Policy, The State and Educational Reform, Evaluation of Educational Policies and Educational Planning, The Training of Educational Cadre, Problems in Comparative Education, Multicultural Education, Initial and In-Service Training of Teachers (graduate level).
  • The development, application and testing of innovative approaches to Comparative and International Education.
  • The organization of conferences, seminars and other communication activities which can bring the educational community together.
  • The development of cooperation with Universities from all over the world, aiming at the exchange of courses and teaching activities on a mutual basis.
  • The production and the evaluation of educational material in both conventional and digital forms, including multimedia.
  • The contribution to the in-service training of teachers in Greece and abroad, with the use of the Distance Education techniques and ICTs.
  • The development of an archive on Greek, European and International Educational Policy.
  • The participation in international academic networks and programmes in the scientific areas which are of interest to the members of the Center.
  • The publication of a conventional and an electronic journal.

The CCIEPC supports the functions of the Postgraduate Programme "Comparative Education with special reference to quality in education".
Director of the Center is Dimitrios Mattheou, Professor of Comparative Education in the Faculty of Primary Education of the University of Athens

Anthology of educational/pedagogical issues as presented via the press

Problems with teachers’ in-service training

POSDEP (the union of University teaching staff) is accusing the Ministry of Education of overt favoritism with regard to the total amount of money allocated for a special in-training program targeted at pre-school, primary and secondary education teachers. ‘A number of very serious questions arise concerning the way that this huge in-training program is being implemented”, voice in their public statement the leaders of POSDEP, calling on the Greek government and the Education Minister, in particular, to take back their respective decision and “to allocate the money for a systematic and substantial in-training of Greek teachers. The critique focuses on those institutions which are called upon to implement the program, on the ‘in-training methodology’, and on the very fact that the proposed program does not incorporate into its contents of existing curricula and the so-called ‘New School’ proposal of the Ministry of Education.

The educational scandal with the I.B. Program

Twenty one individuals (teachers, parents and students) from three different private schools are being accused by the Attorney General of Athens for their involvement in the scandal to ‘buy’ and ‘leak’ the topics/questions of the International Baccalaureate examinations during the school years 2007-8 and 2008-9. Three teachers from private schools are being accused of ‘passive bribery’ since, as claimed, they received the total amount of more than 5 million euros by ‘selling’ the topics/questions of the exams to parents/students of theirs. The remaining 18 parents and students face the accusation of ‘active bribery’. These accusations were made public by the president of OILE (Federation of Private Schools Teachers) M. Kouroutos who went one step further by naming three specific private schools (“Ziridis”, “Moraitis”, “Kollegio Psychikou”).

Teachers objecting to self-evaluation

One of the main initiatives of the Greek Ministry of Education, namely the so-called ‘self-evaluation of the educational ergo’ within each school unit that, as officially announced is scheduled to be implemented in a pilot format starting this coming September 2010, has met with fierce opposition by many school teachers associations. The opposition of the teachers has already been voiced by almost all schools across the country which have been ‘asked’ to participate in this self-evaluation initiative as a kind of ‘pilot schools’, according to the Education Ministry plans, whereas similar is the collective stand of all the primary and secondary teachers unions. The teachers argue that such a ‘self-evaluation’ initiative on the part of the state is questionable in terms of its ulterior motives and pursuits, the methodologies that are to be used for evaluating the teachers and the school and the individuals who will have the responsibility of organizing and conducting such an evaluation.

Greece at the bottom in new technologies

A comparative table prepared by the London Business School commissioned by the Nokia Siemens Networks shows that in using ICT, Greece is ranked at the bottom (place 24) of the respective list among the 25 most developed nations of the world. This table prepared by professor L. Waverman took into account several related parameters, like technological skills and the use of the communication technologies. He created two separate lists: one for the 25 most developed countries, and another one for the developing countries. In the last five places of the list of the developed countries, one finds Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Greece, and Poland.

The Greek school of tomorrow is digital

According to the latest public announcement of the Minister of Education, drastic changes are to be implemented throughout the Greek school. Thus, new curricula and new school textbooks are to be developed, the existing teaching material in all school subjects will be reduced well up to a percentage of 50% in primary and secondary education. The evaluation of every school unit is scheduled to start in the next few months, technological infrastructure (Wi Fi) is to be introduced in all schools, while the school/teaching time allocated for the teaching of foreign languages and information technology will be increased. As approved by the Cabinet of Ministers and Prime Minister George Papandreou, the timetable period to implement all these changes in the Greek education system is expected to cover a total period of five to seven years. It is stressed that the changes/innovations are to be fully planned and implemented in a step-by-step fashion during this 7 years period.

The negative impact of ‘Greeklish’ among our students

An ever increasing percentage of Greek students is using the so-called ‘Greeklish’ as their means of expressing themselves in writing, a development which affects their orthographic skill and ability negatively. This is done through internet and messages sent via mobile phones, A recent survey conducted by the Department of Pre-School Education of the University of Western Macedonia among secondary education teachers (Philologists) and students, demonstrates that the widely spread use of ‘Greeklish’, which starts even as early as in primary school, leads to an increasing percentage of spelling mistakes in the written work of students.

Young pupils ‘against’ the myth of television

Daily television news and weather forecasts, commercials, morning and early afternoon TV shows, serials, soap operas and reality shows constitute “their target”. They study all those TV products, they analyze, decode, ‘bring down to earth’ all those television productions, and finally, they produce their own TV programs. More than 2,500 primary school pupils from 120 elementary schools located in the greater Athens area and in Northern Greece, with a video camera in their hands organize and produce their own audio-visual programs adopting a critical stance vis-à-vis television. This interesting and innovative network was established in the school year 2006-2007.

Environmental education using the internet

A useful tool for both Greek teachers and students has been developed by the Pedagogical Institute in the form an electronic portal for environmental education material ( This portal was jointly created by the University of the Aegean (Dept. of Primary Education) and the Pedagogical Institute with the financial support of the Bodosakis Foundation. It is noted that during its first six months of operation the portal had recorded a total of 7,927 visits. Primary and secondary education teachers have an electronic guide at their disposal which includes all necessary information that may be used in planning and developing projects in the field of environmental education, while at the same time, they may also “feed” the portal with the work and the projects they and their students prepare.

On the students’ excursions issue

Participation decreased by 29% when compare to last school year figures. One in two preferred to go abroad. The economic crisis did not leave ‘untouched’ the 3 or 5-day excursions of secondary school students. A total of 76, 106 (193, 438 vs 269, 544) fewer secondary students took part in this year’s excursions compared to the corresponding numbers of last year. Interestingly (expectedly?) the hotel owners of the most popular places that student usually choose for their 3 or 5-day excursion voiced their own concerns and worries for the money they lost as a result of this rather unexpected development.

From the history of the neo-Hellenic education system: a didactic nostalgia

...the “stability” of the Greek education system

A number of educators who have critically examined the Greek educational system maintain that there are three main factors which have contributed to the stability of the system over the years: a) centralization; b) lack of funds; and c) the so-called language question. Among others, Maria Eliou points emphatically to the excessive centralization that has always characterized the system: "I cannot refrain from noting that Greek education suffers, apart from anything else, from excessive centralization." Even today, after the so-called massive educational reform of 1976, the ultimate responsibility and control of educational matters is in the hands of the State. In one of her recent works T. Anthogalidou-Vasilakakis (1981) remarks that "...the fundamentally decisive powers — adoption and pursuance of general educational policy, legislative regulations, establishment of central councils — are in the hands of the government.

The Ministry of Education and Religion has the exclusive responsibility and always the final say on every educational issue — textbooks, curriculum, methods, personnel, and the like. Virtually every "educational paper and directive'* must bear the Minister's approval and signature before the content and substance of that paper can be implemented at any educational level. There is little, if any, community (teachers, students, parents) involvement in the various processes of decision making although there have been numerous criticisms against this practice. Furthermore, for a system as centralized as the Greek, it is significant to note the frequent change of the Minister of Education.

Between the years 1833 and 1974 there have been 211 Ministers of Education in Greece, each minister serving in office no more than an average of 8 months. The negative influences, then, of the "centralization factor" upon prospective educational reforms have been compounded by this almost continuous change of Ministers. Educational reforms under these circumstances invariably become "unfinished business". Each minister, with the great centralized power in his hands, starts all over again when trying out his own ideas and policies. The fact, also, that at the ministerial level education and religion co-exist under the same roof, is definitely not a sign of decentralization — there are people who would argue that, over the years, this co-existence under the same Ministry is more of a symbolic nature rather than of substance. That argument, however, cannot be easily substantiated by empirical evidence since the Church's ideological conservatism has always been influencing, one way or the other, educational planning and reform in the Greek educational system. In fact, to a lesser extent, this trend can be observed even today.

The second and very crucial factor that has traditionally and repeatedly undermined each one of the educational reforms in the Greek educational system and has rendered it to "arterio-sclerotic" stability is the lack of funds. Money, or the lack of it, is known to be the number one obstacle for educational reform in many developing nations. Greece has not excluded itself from that rule. A great number of well-intentioned educational changes that have been promised and proposed by honest people have not been materialized, principally due to lack of needed funds. No Greek government — be that rightist, centrist, liberal or conservative — has been able, so far, to successfully overcome this economic hurdle regardless of its good or bad educational planning. This point is equally valid, and may be more so due to the international economic crisis, today. It is a reality that the present socialist government cannot afford to deny or ignore. (Recent public statements by the Minister of Education himself with regard to abolishing private institutions arc the most eloquent illustration of that tough economic reality)