The factors for the decline of humanities and Greek studies in the diaspora

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In the previous article, we referred to the general and historical context that led first to the flourishing and then to the leveling of anthropocentric and humanist studies. The seriousness of the situation led the George and Artemisia Kapsomenos Foundation for Cretan Studies in Chania (1-3 September), to organise a large conference of Hellenistic and mainly Modern Hellenistic specialists, university professors in various cities of Europe, Canada, Australia, America and Europe, to discuss the situation of Hellenic Studies in their countries and to propose solutions or suggest the course that teachers should follow in order not only to control the situation, but also whether it is possible to initiate methods for the development of Greek Studies.

In today’s article we will examine the factors that led to their decline over time. To this end, I will resort not only to my own experiences of forty years of teaching, but also to the views expressed from time to time by other senior education officials in the field of teaching and learning.

For the most important factors of the decline, senior education officials and I refer to the analytical and empirical analysis of the Rector and Hellenist Professor Michael John Osborne in his article on Philhellenism, 80 years old Society for Macedonian Studies – Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, pp.618-625. The factors could be considered the following:

  1. The expansion of access to higher education as well as the establishment of many new faculties and academic disciplines as well as many universities to meet the growing demand.
  2. The progressive introduction of many courses related to professional and technological professions. The unpredictable factor of this trend, however, is that these programs remain too popular and serve to further prohibit the diversity of courses offered “precisely because they marginalise and often displace traditional humanist sciences, which are vilified and discredited by politicians and the mainstream media. As a result, universities are torn between choosing a functional educational role or a training one, which is not aimed at the broader education of the individual.
  3. There is a commercially appropriate mentality of universities to constantly increase the number of students admitted to these training programs, which offer them rapid professional opportunities, according to the oversimplified but also corrosive perception of governments and other bodies that supposedly universities simply operate to provide qualified workers to society (thus losing sensitive and educated citizens).
  4. The view of the use-pay system also dominates in universities, so funding is like university programs with a low number of students, regardless of how substantial and important these programs are. This situation is further exacerbated by the unlimited admission of international students who pay full tuition fees, most of whom are enrolled in professional and technological university programs (or Australia receives $28 billion annually from its 750,000 international students, while tourism income is just $23 billion.)
  5. Since 1990, the sinful appearance of online for-profit private institutions with nebulous, misleading, spurious, and obscure programs (210,000 online courses advertised in 2023), with employees receiving unfair amounts according to the number of enrollments against current legal procedures, has led to the trivialisation of learning and the devaluation of teaching, to the point that many countries, including China, refuse recognition or accreditation of such qualifications.

However, beyond these challenges for the humanities and learning Greek, additional dangerous trends have emerged on the horizon in recent years, which unfortunately do not have an ephemeral character. We learn from Western countries that their universities give in to the noisy fundamentalist, radical and liberal views of some organized students, who propose the destruction of those monuments honoring their ancestors if they are associated with invented or actual slavery – ignoring or being ignorant and uneducated of the structure of the societies of the time to which they are addressed. With such naïve and frivolous accusations, we should not worship the Parthenon and its sculptures as reference monuments of Western civilization but destroy them from the ground up because they were created by a democratic system based on slavery.

In the next edition I will refer to some of the issues of decline that characterise the educational affairs of Australia, and especially in higher education, and the systematic attempt of some university activists and green-libertarians radicals to cut education in Australia off from Western and European culture.

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