You Think We Got it Bad?

Wow. And I thought our government had a problem with over-subsidizing higher ed:

Greeks attend university and vocational schools at a higher rate than students in Germany, Spain or Switzerland, with 43 percent of college-aged Greeks enrolled in 2007, the most recent year that statistics were available from the Organization of European Cooperation and Development in Paris. Yet only 18 percent graduate, one of the lowest rates in Europe.

Greek students pay no tuition, a fact enshrined in the constitution, so there’s no incentive to leave college, said Alan Ruby, a senior fellow for international education at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

“Greece has a high consumption of higher education without effective application,” Ruby said. “It’s not being used in economically productive terms. The state is not getting a return on investment.”

More outtakes from the Greek nightmare:

In the universities of Athens, the city where Plato taught and Cicero studied, campuses are covered in anarchist graffiti, stray dogs run through buildings and students take lessons in Swedish with the aim of emigrating.

Higher education in Greece, as in much of Europe, has been battered by the recession and austerity measures. Budget cuts of 23 percent since 2009 mean buildings aren’t heated in the winter, schools have slashed faculty salaries and newly hired professors can wait more than a year to be appointed. Students say it’s hard to be hopeful with youth unemployment surpassing 50 percent and protesters seizing university buildings.

The article also mentions that, among Greek universities, one “legacy of the 1970s youth movement was a prohibition against police entering campus.” What a beautiful picture: Free universal college education, no police, 50 percent unemployment. Sounds like a people’s paradise. If the Occupy movement took over UC Berkeley and elected Che Guevara chancellor, they could hardly do so well.

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