Thursday, 26 August 2010


Remember my recent post on the findings of the Greek Higher Education Quality agency?

Back then I argued on the basis of academic research that degrees are a substitute for ability in the public sector, and the subsidised "demand" for degrees in whatever from would-be civil servants drives a good deal of our higher education system.

It's just occurred to me that there's a way to test this. Suppose the public sector could not hire more people, causing demand for degrees to collapse, but had to keep up supplying university places in order to disguise unemployment. This is our predicament now. If this were a market, you'd expect prices to collapse.

In the Stalinist sudoku puzzle that is Greek higher education admissions, students' formula-determined aggregate admission scores, (βάσεις) act like prices in the sense that students are admitted into the highest-ranked institution (based on the candidate's preferences) whose minimum requirements they meet.

Right on cue, the results of our first post-troika admissions process have been released and the minimum requirements for most institutions has plummeted, with 28 of the less popular departments admitting students with an average score of 1/20 or less. 1/20 being the score awarded to a student for signing their name on a blank sheet of paper.

Some of the worst culprits were:

Amazingly, some of these departments look fairly decent - I don't doubt that they employ some pretty committed academics.  But that's beside the point. Demand for their degrees is not driven by the huge interest in organic farming, or fisheries or auditing in Greece. It is a government-sponsored bubble that has finally popped.

Good riddance.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please remember that I am not notified of any comments and will not respond via comments.

Try to keep your criticism constructive and if you don't like something, do tell me how to fix it. If I use any of your suggestions, you will be duly credited.

Although I'm happy to entertain criticism of myself in the comments section, I will not tolerate hate speech. You will be given a written warning and after that I will delete further offending comments.

I will also delete any comments that are clearly randomly generated by third parties for their own promotion.

Occasionally, your comments may land in the spam box, which may cause them to appear with a slight delay as I have to approve them myself.

Thanks in advance for your kind words... and your trolling, if you are so inclined.