Dilemmas

By Michalis Mitsos

When the education ministry last year announced its intention to bring back Latin as a subject in nationwide university entrance exams, in lieu of sociology, the country was, as usual, divided.

Philologists expressed their satisfaction over “the restoration of balance in the educational system”. Sociologists bemoaned the weakening of the study of social problems, which they argued leaves society unprotected.

If one were to ask me to choose, I would not face a dilemma. Latin is a dead language while sociology is a very much alive academic field.

At Athens Polytechnic, where I studied, I was taught neither of the two subjects, but what I missed was knowledge of sociology, and not Latin.

That is my experience and naturally others may see things otherwise.

In the final analysis, why must we be forced to choose? Why must there be a dilemma between teaching Latin, which with our penchant for labels is called “right-wing”, and teaching sociology, which is viewed as left-wing?

One may reply that there is a set number of subjects on which university applicants are tested.

I shall say that there are always solutions, as long as we do not tackle problems in the framework of petty partisan competition and instead manage them with an open mind.

We must not forget that the objective in a contemporary society is not homogeneity, but rather more choices.

That is called diversity. What it is called in Latin I don’t know.

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