The Irresponsible Position on Higher Education of SYRIZA’s Expat Candidate

The resume of the man at the top of the SYRIZA at-large/national candidate list for the Greeks Abroad, Greek American Othonas Iliopoulos, is impressive.

He is an associate professor of medicine at Harvard University and a clinical oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital – one of the best hospitals in the world.

I had not heard his name until now. It seems as though he was not involved with the Boston area’s homegrown Greek-American community, nor was he spotlighted by the media for a scientific discovery, breakthrough, etc. or he would probably have come to my attention.

However, the fact that he lives and works in the United States certainly makes him one of Greece’s expatriates.

So, it is both surprising and disappointing that he opposes the establishment of private universities in Greece.

When he was asked by SKY TV, “Do we want private universities in Greece? Yes or no?” he replied, “Not me.” He gave the same answer regarding having police on university grounds.
How is it possible for a professor at Harvard – or any university in the United States – to be against private and secure universities in Greece?

I realize that a positive answer would be politically problematic, since SYRIZA has a negative position on the establishment of private universities and university police detachments.

However, I repeat, how is it possible for an expatriate who has benefited so much from this higher education system in America to deny the same benefits to the children of Greece and the future of the country?

Unfortunately, in general, Mr. Alexis Tsipras’ position on the issue of education is very demagogic and damaging for the country. He seems to be in desperation as election time approaches that he is promising ‘the moon’.

He claims – listen to this! – that the establishment of minimum grades for university entry – which were academic requirements that the New Democracy government set to ensure successful matriculation as well as the timely completion of studies for prospective students in higher education – “cuts off 20,000 children from higher education,” in the state schools, with the ‘aim’ of forcing them to pay for private colleges.

“We find it absurd, we find it immoral,” Mr. Tsipras said. “So I want to pledge that the abolition of the minimum admissions [grades] will be one of the first acts of the next progressive government and will take effect beginning with the exams that students take this June.”

This is an irresponsible announcement, which above all else is directed against children – and their parents – because what is the point of a child getting into university if they do not have the ability or preparation to finish?

It is also, in the final analysis, aimed against the universities, which it will further degrade, and consequently damages the country.

If this were to happen, it would result in even more young men and women leaving to go abroad, with a significant percentage of them staying there permanently.

The exact opposite policy is required. The policy of upgrading education and universities.

This policy will not only keep young people in the country, not only offer them better jobs, but it will also develop the potential that Greece has to become a magnet for university education for tens of thousands of young people from all over the world.


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