In a country like Greece constantly struggling with an economic crisis and other issues, problems can surface in the different institutions of the country. The political competition, mainly between the left oriented and right oriented parties have not only changed the government but also affected the educational system and Athens University itself. Euroviews spoke to some students in Athens about their experience.
Athens, Greece – Walking the hallways of the university in the heart of Athens, and in different faculties and dorms, it is easy to notice the different hang out groups of young people. Posters hanging behind them that range from invites to events and parties to announcements of strikes or protests.
The people attending Athens University have ranged in their support or disapproval as much as these posters range. To a lot of students, these calls for attention are an annoyance that makes young people drift away from politics and hate its effect on the country even more while others find their easy way through college with the help of political youth organisations.
Antonis, a student at Athens University told Euroviews about his personal experience with the influence of political parties in the university.
“The left parties come into class and say: “Comrades and co-workers, we need you to join us on our protest for the rights of the workers that currently are on a strike for a certain reason. No more we will let the capitalists and the rich-hold government and elite to decide for us!””
According to Antonis, the approach differs completely between the left and right wing parties and that also creates more confusion in the university.
“Right parties mostly of NEA Dimokratia or PASOK. They get into class and say: “So guys, we got a party this Friday!! Do not miss it, lots of drinks and a famous singer will attend also.”
Many students have reported that the presence of these people is only making their university experience worse; the damage to university properties and dorms with posters, graffiti and other vandalisms have become an inconvenience to many, all of that with the lack of proper security and order from the university itself.
Marios, another student at Athens University explained how the students being absorbed into this political game and how they feel about it.
“What these guys mainly do is litter the university and they fill whole walls with their party posters, they also enjoy drinking coffee while smoking inside the building in front of their posters. “
Whether those groups are actually able to influence the Greek youth into supporting their parties is up for debate. The actions of these groups of young politicians and activists might be having a negative effect on the main and initial goal of these actions.
Marios explained that these groups target students who are not motivated to finish their studies. They offer alternatives to regular undergraduate studies and propose ways for the students to manoeuvre their studies according to what they want. Not only has politics found its way into the classrooms, hallways, and students but also to professors according to Marios:
“Some of the party members and youth organisations also help their group members to cheat in the exams. In earlier years there were also professors that would help students of their political party passing the exams.”
These 2 main approaches have created a certain wave of dissatisfaction among students who are being influenced and “are really interested in their studies and the quality of their degree finds these guys annoying and don’t want them in the university” says Marios.