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2009 OECD Economic Surveys: Greece 2009

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Greece 2009
OECD's periodic review of Greece's economy.  This 2009 edition examines how well Greece is weathering the economic crisis. It also looks at how to bring Greece's public finances on to a sustainable path, how to improve the performance of the public health care system, and how to raise education outcomes. Greece has weathered the economic crisis relatively well, but putting public financing on a sustainable path will require strengthening tax administration and tighter expenditure management. Greek health outcomes compare favourably with the OECD average but the system is seen as not working well by the population. Greece's educational indicators lag behind those of other OECD countries and OECD makes wide-ranging recommendations in this report.

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Raising Education Outcomes

Despite progress over the past decades, Greece’s educational indicators lag behind those of other OECD countries. PISA scores are low, a large number of tertiary students study abroad, and attainment rates are low at all levels of education. Resources devoted to education are also modest. Participation in early childhood education and care is particularly low, influencing education outcomes in later years, the child care sector is poorly regulated and under-developed, and the separate administration of pre-school and childcare has led to inefficiencies. Education quality in primary and secondary levels reflects lack of performance incentives for teachers, deficient curriculum, weak school autonomy and accountability. This has driven children to complementary private courses to prepare for university exams. The university system is rigid and lacks a well performing evaluation mechanism. Recent reforms have addressed some of these issues but more needs to be done. Educational outcomes could be improved by giving more autonomy to schools and universities, and increasing accountability by, for example, performance evaluations of teachers and introducing standard nationwide exams at more levels of school education. A more flexible framework for tertiary education would promote responsiveness to changing demand conditions and enhance the quality of the sector. Educational outcomes could also be improved by more initiatives to counteract the effects of disadvantaged backgrounds on performance. The schools should also ensure that the curriculum prepares students with competences needed to succeed in their post-school life. This includes making vocational and technical education more attractive.

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