International Education Journal


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Forms of infringement of the right to education in contemporary Greek educational structures

Aristotelis Stamoulas 
Former Scientific Associate, State M.P. George Psacharopoulos, Hellenic Parliament



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The classical philosophical distinction between positive and negative rights poses the question about where education stands and draws an invaluable opportunity to explore the implications of this distinction in the context of modern Greek educational reality. This paper discusses education as touching the sphere of both right categories, by incorporating simultaneously a) prerequisites of state financing obligations (positive dimension), and b) patterns of people's free choice with respect to the received education (negative dimension). 

Contrary to these conditions, it is argued that the Greek educational system proves condemnatory for the realisation of education as a fundamental human right for two reasons. First, poor state financing pushes families to extended private expenditures, creating class dichotomies and making education a 'public' good to be 'purchased' on basis of people's social profile and economic ability. Secondly, the overwhelmingly centralised administration of education, in conjunction with the frequent legislative intervention of the state, diminishes liberal possibilities of free choice, since a) parents are unable to decide for the school of their children or get involved in educational planning, and b) young people are not granted entrance to universities in line with their cognitive preferences and inclinations, but rather according to a central allocating system tightly supervised by the Ministry of Education that blindly decides student placement. 

Accessibility to tertiary education, state coercion, socio-economic inequities, rights, liberalisation of education


 Stamoulas, A. (2006). Forms of infringement of the right to education in contemporary Greek educational structures. International Education Journal, 7 (1), 74-84.

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