The illogical stance of university staff

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Back when Archbishop Christodoulos used to pay social visits to the country's schools, he told a joke that is particularly relevant to educators today.

"God visited a multiethnic agricultural community and granted each farmer a wish. The German asked for a horse, the Frenchman for a cow, the Italian for a goat and the Greek asked for the death of his neighbor's goat."

This attitude brings to mind the protests by trade unionists in the higher education sector. First and foremost, educators and staff object to the creation of non-profit universities. Secondly they want a boost in their funding. In other words, they are less interested in benefits for their own "farm" than in sabotaging the plans of their as yet unknown neighbor.

These demands should concern all sensible citizens. Indeed, it would be more logical if those working in education actually pushed for the creation of non-profit universities rather than opposing such a prospect.

It would make more sense if their strike was based on calls for the creation of more academic institutions - not only because competition would improve its own practices but because this would boost employment opportunities, in turn leading toward increased salaries and better work conditions.

So, the reaction of educators seems to be somewhat paradoxical.

The most logical explanation is that in our obsessively socialist educational system there is no clear notion of the laws of supply and demand. Chiefly to blame is our country's statist tradition upon which a wide range of vested interests have been based and developed.

KATHIMERINI English Edition, 27/05/2006