Yesterday trundling back from my class on the bus a lady was moving down the aisles asking for bus tickets. In Athens, it's acceptable to buy your ticket off another passenger. They'll actually give it to you. Astonishment! Two years in London really killed my belief in other people.
Anyway, the hot topic of the day is Greece's failure to decide on reforming their university system. You know what I'm talking about if you live in Greece. If you don't you obviously don't watch enough shouting matches on morning TV. The government wants to privatise some unis to create healthy competition and raise the standard of the education provided, along with reasonable measures like putting a time limit on how long you can take to finish your degree. What, it's open ended? Yes children, it is.
The Greeks love nothing better than a good protest, so they've been up in arms for what seems like FOREVER over the reforms. Every day the TV shows long-haired students burning things, throwing petrol bombs and shutting down their campuses. Smart, guys, real smart. I too was a long-haired student once, but I have no sympathy for their cause. The highest ranking of a Greek university according to the Times Higher Education Supplement is number 459. The university of Athens comes in at number 508. Kids, you really have nothing to be proud of. When your universities are doing so badly in international league tables, it would be wiser to contemplate measures that might improve them, not throw a hissy fit that you won't be allowed to take 10 years to finish your degree.
Generally, I don't agree with privatisation, but in this case I sincerely do. Why should smart Greek kids who want to learn and have a degree that would actually be worth something have to miss out because they can't afford to go overseas to get an education? The Ancient Greeks are still regarded as some of the most intelligent people in the history of humanity, because they valued knowledge and tried to make it available easily. Why should modern Greeks be disadvantaged by not having good quality universities in their own country? Why should they have to pay and go abroad, thus contributing to the country's brain drain? Someone should ask these rioters: wouldn't it be nice to get a good quality, useful education and still have dinner at Mama's? That's the one that'll clinch it!!
Alas, what do I know, right? I'm just a stinky foreigner after all.