International Educator - May/June 2012 - 74
have power and control. I see the crisis in Greece as not only a financial crisis but also as a social crisis, in terms of values and in terms of expectations. On a more global scale, I believe that the experience in Greece to date highlights a lack of self-control in the Western World, where unjustified exuberance has reigned since the 1990s.” An irony, Hristopulos says, is that many students have no perspective regarding how much their educational system has improved from prior generations, present cutbacks notwithstanding. “I graduated in 1985 from the National Technical University of Athens, and I see a lot of things have changed for the better in terms of the quality of textbooks or manuscripts we use in class, the buildings that are available, and access to computational infrastructure. In the Technical University of Crete we have a number of computer labs, which our students can use since their freshman year, while more advanced students have access to specialized software. When I was a student, we used punchcards to run computer programs; since we had insufficient money, the machine kept running out of ink; every time we made a typing or logical mistake, we would put the card up to the light to try to figure out which letter or symbol corresponded to the punched holes on the card. We have moved light years
“Hopefully, we have learned a lesson from this crisis, although I’m not so sure yet. I’m hoping that doomsday scenarios don’t come through, and that we will have a chance to rebuild the economy. but ﬁrst we have to rebuild a certain value system.”
ahead of that in a short period of time, but the students don’t appreciate this progress. We have the potential, and it is up to us to use this potential more effectively. Hopefully, we have learned a lesson from this crisis, although I’m not so sure yet. I’m hoping that doomsday scenarios don’t come through, and that we will have a chance to rebuild the economy. But first we have to rebuild a certain value system. And then the rest will follow.” IE
DaVID TObENkIN is a freelance reporter based in chevy chase, maryland.
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