A bit more seriousness in managing the problems of the education system would not be bad.

Yesterday, on the first day of the school year, Education Minister Kostas Gavroglu hastened to announce yet another vacuous reform. He announced that as of next year, the school day will start an hour later, at 9am, so that students can sleep a bit more.

In the education minister’s book, all the problems of the education system have been solved, and all that is left is the sleep pattern of students. Without studying the issue, and without taking into account the needs of working parents, Mr. Gavroglu decided to play the role of a nanny, as if parents are not in a position to organise their children’s lives and the ministry must do it for them.

For a minister that respects his role and has a substantial interest in children’s welfare, the main issue he must address is not when class starts, but rather how to improve lessons. The question is how to offer teachers and students the best possible choices in order to expand their knowledge and understand the value of the educational process.

For better or for worse, in Greece we have no lack of sleep and vacations. Schools have a long summer vacation – much longer than in other countries – and there is plenty of time for rest and relaxation. What we need to instill in children is not a mentality of making a lesser effort, but rather the value of work and continually striving for improvement.

When you have a government that openly disputes the concept of excellence as an educational objective, it is absolutely natural to cultivate a mentality of rest and convenience. In a world that is ever more competitive, and with other countries striving for greater knowledge and more experiences, we are striving for more sleep.