Giving Painkillers to a Dying Patient: Educational and Training Policies as Treatment for Youth Unemployment during the Greek Economic Crisis

Giving Painkillers to a Dying Patient: Educational and Training Policies as Treatment for Youth Unemployment during the Greek Economic Crisis

Nikos Fotopoulos (University of Western Macedonia, Greece), Argyris Kyridis (Aristotle University, Greece), Maria Pavlis-Korres (Hellenic Open University, Greece) and Christos Zagkos (Center of Educational Policy Development (KANEP/GSEE), Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9455-2.ch008
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Abstract

The issue of unemployment and especially youth unemployment is one of the most urgent and gloomy issues in the European Union. In the case of Greece, in particular, this phenomenon is closely linked to the financial, fiscal and debt crisis creating extremely negative conditions and prospects for the Greek economy and society. This chapter highlights key issues of the current situation in the field of unemployment and especially youth unemployment in Greece, drawing the image of reality on vocational education and training (initial and continuing). It also shows the diachronic ineffectiveness of policies concerning educational and vocational training in Greece. Finally, the chapter proposes the context of a critical and institutional framework for the development of a realistic policy for vocational training and education and social cohesion in times of crisis.
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Introduction

The question of confronting unemployment and especially youth unemployment constitutes one of the most urgent issues in the European Union. In the Greek case in particular, this phenomenon is closely linked to the ongoing financial and debt crisis, which creates highly unfavorable conditions and prospects for both Greek economy and society. However, that finding is not only substantially based on statistical data concerning unemployment during the period of crisis. It is also linked to timeless pathogenic structural features of the Greek society that led to phenomena such as the «brain drain» (Theodoropoulos, Kyridis, Zagkos, & Konstantinidou, 2015) or other, equally disturbing phenomena such as the increasing emergence of young people “Not in Education, Employment, or Training” (Neets) (Drakaki, Papadakis, Kyridis, & Papargyris, 2014), or the rise of the extreme right within the Greek society. All the pre-mentioned phenomena basically demonstrate the correlation and interaction of a number of economic, political, educational and ideological factors that determine the context in which the crisis is taking place within the Greek society.

In particular this chapter highlights:

  • The key aspects of the current situation concerning unemployment and especially youth unemployment, as they were developed in the era of crisis and especially in the period after the entry of Greece into the Memorandum era.

  • The key elements of vocational education and training in Greece, illustrating the unfortunate timeless political ineffectiveness in that specific field, within an economic and social context where vocational training could otherwise become an effective active policy for promoting employment.

  • The relatively recent introduction of the institution of Educational Vouchers that aimed at tackling youth unemployment. Our view on Educational Vouchers is directly critical, since this policy as a measure within the context of the neoliberal response to the crisis complicates things further: Greek society appeared to be totally unprepared for the introduction of such measures.

  • The context of a critical and at the same time institutional framework of a road map of realistic policies for vocational training, educational policy and social cohesion within the era of crisis.

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