23 SES 07 B, The European Education Space after the Economic Crisis
Like many other European countries, Greece has a long tradition of ‘borrowing’ institutional structures, curricular policies and pedagogical ideologies. However, recent globalising trends have increased the pressure to reform the education system there in the light of what is going on in other countries. With the full entry of Greece into the European Union (in 1981), along with a gradual shift on the part of successive Greek governments in the direction of neoliberalism, ‘modernisation’ or ‘Europeanisation’ has been linked with ideas about the marketisation of education and efforts to make the Greek education system more “effective” by introducing structures and forms of accountability similar to those that operate within capitalist organizations (Traianou, 2013; Sifakakis, et al, 2016). At the same time, the distinctive features of the Greek education system, resulting from its socio-historical and cultural context, have continued to play a crucial role, not least in shaping the ways in which it has responded to pressures for modernisation. In this paper I will begin by discussing some of these features, especially those relating to the nature of the Greek economic and political system and the role of education within it. I will draw on classic and recent studies of Greek society and political economy (Mouzelis, 1978; Kouvelakis, 2016; Lapavitsas, 2016), begin by examining the major changes that have taken place in the Greek education system since the 1960s in order to set the context for analysing the post-2008 education reforms. These were promoted initially by a nominally socialist government in the midst of a severe global economic ‘crisis’ and they generated stormy reactions from educators and students. I am particularly interested in examining Greek education reform after the 2015 general election, which resulted in the formation of a new government made up of a coalition of the radical Left party SYRIZA and the Right-wing party ANEL (‘Independent Greeks’). My aim is to highlight some of the tensions and controversies generated within the Greek education system as the integrative vision of the European Education Space, expressed though EU policies and the OECD, interacted with local contexts and diverse interests.
Bortz, G.P. (2016) Debate: How is the Greek rescue package being spent?, Institute for New Economic Thinking, available at: https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/debate-how-is-the-greek-rescue-package-being-spent Kouvelakis, S. (2016) Syriza’s Rise and Fall, New Left Review, 97, pp. 45-70. Lapavitsas, Costas (2009) Financialised Capitalism: Crisis and Financial Expropriation, Historical Materialism, (17) 2, pp. 114-148. Mouzelis. N. (1978) Modern Greece- facets of underdevelopment, London: Macmillan Traianou, A. (2013) Greek Education Reform: resistance and despair in Ken Jones (Ed) Education in Europe: The Politics of Austerity, London: Radicaled. Sifakakis P., Tsataroni, A., Sarakinioti, A., Kourou, M. (2016). Governance and Knowledge Transformations in Educational Administration: Greek Responses to Global Policies. Journal of Educational Administration and History, 48(1), pp. 35-67.
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