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Educational practices at undergraduate level in Greece

Educational practices at undergraduate level in Greece. Anja Timm, Lancaster University. Why are we interested in undergraduate studies in the largest sending countries?. Research focus.

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Educational practices at undergraduate level in Greece

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  1. Educational practices at undergraduate level in Greece Anja Timm, Lancaster University

  2. Why are we interested in undergraduate studies in the largest sending countries?

  3. Research focus • University visits: classroom observation, interviews and focus groups with teaching staff, students and administrators • Library visits • Conversations with British Council staff, agents, alumni and others • Education fairs, notice boards, student papers, ‘hanging out‘, etc.

  4. Greek HE overview • Language of instruction: Greek • All HEIs are self-governing, but supervised by the Ministry of National Education • Greek HE is provided by 22 universities & 15 institutions of technological education • Current HE participation rate: 58% • Greek universities are as yet unable to meet the demand for PG programmes

  5. Entrance into HE • To qualify for university applicants must pass the Panhellenic exams • University entrance is restricted by grades • A grade of below 17 (out of 20) will make it unlikely that applicants can enrol on a popular programme • Whilst all education in Greece is free, payment for afternoon tuition – frontistiria – has become widespread

  6. Greek HE: emerging themes • Role of textbooks and libraries • Student progression • Student-staff relationship • ‘Drinking coffee’ • Politics • Academic writing • Misconduct policies

  7. Role of textbooks & libraries • Two free textbooks (provided by the state) • Tailor-written for specific courses • Self-publishing (often without editorial input) • Normally authored by one’s own lecturer • Or compiled / translated / copied • Libraries often remain unknown quantities and / or very peripheral to student life • Implications for information literacy

  8. Student progression • Study as an entitlement (can’t be expelled) • The right to unlimited retakes • ‘Voluntary fail’ option • Perception of fairness • Ever increasing workload • The myth of regular purges (slipping through eventually) • Frontistiria ‘solution’ re-emerges

  9. Student-staff relationships • Distant and apparently independent operators (no double marking, no external examiners), frequent use of assistants • Ever increasing student numbers limit engagement with teaching • Formative opportunities & feedback are rare • The privileged 10% and the masses • Support system & skills training – largely absent

  10. ‘Drinking coffee’ • Recovery from Panhellenic exams • Making friends, networking (importance of peer group in Greek social structure) • Supporting one another, getting advice on requirements, study skills, etc. in the absence of official sources • Diversion • Postponement (draft / unemployment)

  11. Politics • Strikes (recurrent feature) • Highly participatory HE system • Students as ‘full partners in HE governance’ • Student party power • Staff involvement (politics & business) • Politics getting in the way?

  12. Academic Writing • Assessment is up to individual lecturers but exams play a crucial role in the vast majority of courses • Opportunity to exercise memorisation skills • Limited confidence in accuracy exam results • Academic writing skills are mainly self-taught • Final year thesis or project • Citation practice (staff & students)

  13. Academic misconduct • Plagiarism is not an offence in terms of Greek university regulations, students cannot be expelled for it; only failed • Lecturers and students acknowledged that copy-paste is quite widespread and tolerated • ‘Poor or bad academic practices in terms of reading, note taking, paraphrase, citation, etc.

  14. Prospects and tactics • High graduate unemployment • Graduate study as a desperate measure • Postponement strategy (army draft) • Desirability of public sector employment

  15. On coming to the UK Two distinct groups of students who will come to the UK for their studies… Background considerations for students: • European mobility • The British destination • Leaving home / growing up / rite of passage

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