Education Policy Advice for Greece

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The future of Greece’s well-being will depend on improving educational performance to boost productivity and improve social outcomes. In the current economic context, with the need to get best value for spending, Greece must and can address inefficiencies in its education system.

The challenges are significant. For example, Greece lags behind many OECD countries in performance on PISA, including countries with the same or lower levels of expenditure per student as well as countries with the same and lower levels of economic development. Salary costs per student are above the OECD average, mostly because Greek teachers have less teaching time and Greece has smaller classes. A smaller percentage of students who enter tertiary education complete a first degree within the statutory study time than in any other country in Europe.

To address the challenges, the Greek government has established a bold agenda and sought advice from a task force on the development and implementation of reform proposals that reflect best practices in OECD countries. This report provides the outcomes of the work of the task force. It presents a roadmap for how the reforms can be successfully implemented, with pointers to relevant experience in other countries. As a contribution to the on-going policy discussions in Greece, it recommends specific short-, medium- and long-term actions that can improve efficiency in the country’s education system.



Improving Efficiency in Tertiary Education Greece

Greece lags behind many EU and OECD countries in making fundamental reforms to improve the global competitiveness of its tertiary education system. Over the past decade, Greece has taken only limited actions while other countries are moving ahead to:

• Set forth long-term strategies with goals and benchmarks to improve the quality and efficiency of their tertiary education systems. In Europe these changes are being driven by the Lisbon Strategy and the Modernisation Agenda for Universities: Education, Research and Innovation.

• Make far-reaching changes in governance and finance designed to bring about increased flexibility and responsiveness to national priorities and adjust to the realities of severe constraints in state funding (OECD, 2008b; European Commission, 2008a).

Greece also remains behind many OECD and EU counties in important innovation assets such as the proportion of the population that has achieved a tertiary education degree and the competitiveness of research. In the long-term, the most important path to economic recovery is the development of these core assets. Making more efficient use of existing resources, including the use of human resources, is a critical means to improving Greece’s global competitiveness.


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