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'Toil and trouble for Greek adolescents'

Posted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 2:06 pm
by Carolina
So reads the headline of an article in ekathimerini today.

'From elementary school to university, Greece’s children are under a massive amount of pressure to be perfect at everything.

Four students talk about gruelling daily schedules that leave them no time to enjoy carefree years, while also giving no quarantees for the future.
They start their day well before dawn, when they should be sleeping, and they finish later than the most driven executive at some big corporation'

Says one Athens teenager “ I get up every day at 6 a.m. for a shower which I need to get my eyes open, I have something to eat and the school bus goes by at 7.05. I get to school around 7.40, and have lessons till 2.30 p.m. I come back from Neo Faliron on the school bus and get home around 3 p.m. I study for the tuition college and go to the center of Glyfada at 6 to take the bus back to Neo Faliron for the tuition college. We have lessons from 7.30 to 10.40 p.m. and I get home at 11.30 p.m. I see my parents for a bit, then I study for about an hour-and-a-half. I get to sleep around 1.30-2 a.m.”

Speaking from experience (I have two teenagers – one of them has just finished school) this scenario is typical in Crete too, particularly in the last two to three years of schooling… from the ages of 15 to 18, although many students have these tiring schedules from a much younger age. To have any hope of getting into university children in Greek schools must attend the after-school ‘tuition colleges’, or frontistira. The main stream state schools teach the basics of the curriculum but do not have the time, or the inclination in many cases, to cover the whole spectrum, so children attend private frontistiria, at their parents expense, to get an education. It seems to be a vicious circle, some (though not all) of the teachers at school race through lessons with the attitude “you’ll all be doing/have done this at frontistiria so it's a waste of my time in teaching it properly”

All this hard work means that Greek teenagers have little time to enjoy their youth, however on the positive side it means that they have little time or inclination to become out-of-control teenagers. Says one 16 year old “My parents support me and give me what they can. They’ve stayed up all night with me and they do whatever they can to help. I don’t feel the need to rebel or to oppose them,”

You can read the full article here ... 2007_80494