By Yiannis Papadoyiannis – Kathimerini
Dr. John Psarouthakis, a US-based businessman and former professor at the University of Michigan and lecturer at MIT, says the importance of higher education and the minimal interference of government in the economy cannot be overstated. «Without effective higher education, it is very difficult for Greece to achieve economic development and social progress at rates that will accelerate its convergence with the other European Union partners,» he said in an interview with Kathimerini.
“I believe that in the past 12 years my concerns worsened and Greece tried to make up with debt what she could not do competitively—to cover her financial needs with debt instead of a growth economy” John Psarouthakis, October 24, 2015
Psarouthakis expresses concern at the frequency of changes in the Greek education system. «It is odd how easily each minister of education changes crucial elements in the education system, such as examinations or procedures for university entry.» By contrast, in Europe and the USA, where higher education is on the cutting edge of new knowledge, there is stability and ministers function and decide within given frameworks, he notes. The picture at Greek universities is even more disappointing. «In practice, universities in Greece do not have the necessary autonomy, while their structures are based on past eras, which cuts them off from society and its needs.»
The continuous «dialogue» between universities and society is a process of crucial importance. Without it, tertiary education establishments will produce scientists without the training required to work for its further progress. «The inability of higher education institutions to listen to and communicate with society intensifies problems: Graduates cannot be absorbed by the labor market while the country is losing ground in both educational level and competitiveness, holding down its growth rates and undermining convergence.