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Greek Families Dream of Their Children Going to University

greek studentsFor years, summertime in Greece has been correlated with the stress of young students waiting to find out if they have gathered enough points to enter a university, according to “The Irish Times” journalist Richard Pine. In some cases, especially in small villages, families are sometimes even more stressed that the student. Unfortunately though, a university degree cannot guarantee a successful career.
Pine wrote once again about Greek society. This time, the subject of his article was young people who leave their villages because of their driving need to get into university.
The alarming exodus of young people from rural areas in favor of big cities so that they can attend university, has left many villages deserted. Young people are constantly migrating to big cities or even abroad, leaving their parental home and dilemmas behind.
There are many factors that have contributed to urbanism in Greece: the centralization of state administration, the province’s economic strangulation, the lack of schools in rural areas. The Greek villages are losing their focal point. They are not dead yet, but very silent, Pine said.
“Does the shrinking village suffer from its failure to adapt? Does it deserve to die? Would the introduction of small industries, especially hi-tech ones, reverse what is fast becoming a string of skeletal settlements, validated only by the passing tourist trade during the summer months, and invisible and dormant the rest of the year?” Pine wondered.
University (or technical college) education provides a door to a “better” life, a professional career and wider horizons than the village can offer, he said. Over the last years, three in five young people have left the province to study.
Furthermore, as the author noted, this has also happened in other countries, not just Greece. “Family pride and village pride lose out to the attractions of better-paying jobs and cosmopolitan life. There is no job market at home, and marriage options are few. There are no bank loans for a start-up enterprise, and family savings have long been exhausted by the imperatives of austerity. ‘Cottage industry’ doesn’t exist.”
There is no program that can combine the individual’s self-improvement with the activities of a rural society.
The Panhellenic exams students have to go through resemble the examination process in Ireland, said Pine. Out of 20,000 points, students need at least 10,000 to get into a university and more than 13,000 for the university of their choice.
Finally, he mentioned that computer or economics schools “may confer little job potential, while students in engineering school may even end up working in a supermarket. It is possible that not everyone will succeed in university, therefore they are most likely to return home and “take over the family business.”

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