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2011 Public Lecture

                                   The Role of Education in Greece's Recovery

Mrs Anna Diamantopoulou
Minister for Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs, Greece

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event details

Date 

 Wednesday, 2 February 2011
Time     18:30 - 20:00
Venue   Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE
Chair

Professor Kevin Featherstone, Hellenic Observatory Director

The Greek Minister for Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs, Mrs Anna Diamantopoulou, spoke on ‘The role of education in Greece’s economic recovery’ at the LSE on Wednesday, 2 February 2011.

Her theme was very topical: with continued debate on Greece’s debt crisis, a student occupation of part of the University of Athens, and repeated street protests. There was also a small protest outside the theatre at the LSE. There was much speculation as to what proposals for university reform the Minister might bring forward, after her prioritisation of changes to the state school sector in 2009.

Quoting Charles Dickens, she noted that her subject combined two of his best known titles: ‘Hard Times’ and ‘Great Expectations’. She began by setting the context of the economic crisis: 'When speaking about the Greek economy, it is integral to recall the situation the present government inherited a little more than a year ago: an overwhelming national debt resulting from chronic mismanagement, a global image tarnished by lack of credibility and transparency, no credit faith, decreasing competitiveness and growing scepticism on and off the record from our EU partners. All of the above were linked with failed policies, a deeply-rooted clientelistic system which hindered reform, while protecting special interests linked to the election cycle. As we may all agree, that was obviously not a good starting point. Great challenges were soon enough knocking on our door. We needed to address them in a fast, efficient and productive way.'

The Minister then developed her theme: her motto, she said, was ‘We change Education, we change Greece’. Indeed, ‘What education can do for Greece, the Memorandum of Understanding with the ECB, the European Commission and the IMF cannot do’, she argued. The aim is to bring Greek higher education into the 21st century. ‘We have the will and we have a plan’, she declared. She elaborated five basic objectives:

  1. To bring Greek higher education into the international mainstream (with student and staff exchanges, joint programmes, etc.).
  2. To turn universities towards societal and market needs.
  3. To allocate public funding in relation to evaluation and appraisal systems.
  4. To modernize the administrative structure of the universities.
  5. To facilitate effective study by students of all ages so that they can make a difference.

The realization of her plan would establish a competitive education system for a country ‘ready to move on’.

Related press coverage: Athens News, SKAI TV, To Vima, Veto News

 

                                                               EVENT PHOTOS

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From left to right: 
Spyros Economides, Kevin Featherstone, Anna Diamantopoulou, Janet Hartley, Aristides Sandis, Katerina Sandis, Yannos Mitsos & Konstantinos Economides

 

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Minister Anna Diamantopoulou

 

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Professor Featherstone introducing the Minister

 

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Part of the audience in the Sheikh Zayed Theatre

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