Greece was always a land of contradictions, a “spoiled child of history” in the words of author Kostas Kostis, but also a “paradoxically modern” country according to filmmaker Pantelis Voulgaris.

It has the ability to transcend itself, for example by organising the exemplary 2004 Olympic Games, but also the capacity to go bankrupt by living beyond its means.

Today, that contradictory aspect of the country is seen most clearly on the tertiary education front.

Many Greek universities have been distinguished in annual international rankings. A prime example is Athens University, which this year for the first time ever ranked among the 200 best universities in the world.

Athens Polytechnic (photo) a few days ago established the first university spin off company, which will utilise the results of research and promote innovation.

As Ta Nea Weekend Edition reports today, the scientific tools that will result from the spin off will expedite the discovery of new, effective, and safe medicines and other products.

At the same time, however, the incidence of illegal acts at universities in large cities, with rectors that are incapable of or reluctant to impose order, is mushrooming. University deans are threatened by anti-authority groupings and have even been forces to sign statements of…repentance.

One university student was beaten up because he came out in support of the creation of a university police force (part of the government’s programme that has gone forward).

Inspectors of vaccination certificates at the entrance of universities have been attacked by far-left organisations, and a few days ago persons unknown illegally set up a space for themselves at Athens Polytechnic!

The toil and passion of those who really do their work at universities co-exist with a sense of resignation because of the violent behaviour and the destruction wrought by troublemakers.

Progress is battling regression.

No one has the right, due to either timidity or indifference, to allow the troublemakers to defeat those who are devoted to their true role and mission.

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