One often wonders if Education Minister Kostas Gavroglu has a real understanding of what going on in the education system.
The issue involves not universities, but schools, which have plenty of problems.
There is underfunding, the use of substitute teachers who do not where they will be sent each year to cover needs (and whether they can find living quarters there), and analytic programmes and books that must be restructured, but funding is not available.
With this environment and these problems, Kostas Gavroglu decided that the basic problem is the schedule, and problems will be solved if classes start an hour later.
He overlooked the fact that this solves no essential problem in the education system, but will rather create many problems for parents that must take their children to school. When a parent has to be at work at 8am or 8:30am, what do they do with a child that they must drop off at school just before 9am?
That is the time that work starts for the vast majority of society. Even if parents start at 9am, they must trek to work. Already, it is difficult for parents to run and pick up their children, and to take them to English or ballet lessons.
Most parents are neither university professors nor journalists, who have more flexible schedules.
Gavroglu said the schedule change will make things better for kids, as they will not be sleepy when they arrive at school. As one recalls from childhood, kids don’t appear sleepy because it is early, but rather because at times they find school boring.
The argument that kids stay up late at night because they are using computers or tablets and cell phones, so let us give them a little more time in the morning, does not stand.
The right thing is for children not to spend so many hours in front of smaller or larger screens, and to go to sleep on time.
Moreover, if students return home later from school, that limits their ability to rest in the early afternoon, before activities such as studying or playing.
Midday rest, in places with climatic conditions such as ours, is perhaps more important than a little extra morning sleep.
The real issue is not the school schedule. The issue is how Mr. Gavroglu chooses to make policy.
When there are huge open issues regarding the direction that schools should have, and what funding and staffing and content they need, instead of initiating a dialogue with society, so as to make proposals and hear ideas, Gavroglu simply seeks a bright idea that will draw publicity, even temporarily, create a sensation, but that will change absolutely nothing in substance.
For many, it will be an additional headache.