A new academic year is about to begin and here, at IST, we are ready to welcome our new students. During the Open Day we held last Wednesday, parents and prospective students attended the presentations of our programmes and were informed about how to think and act in an entrepreneurial manner regardless of the programme of study they select. They also had the opportunity to meet IST’s academic staff and be guided around IST’s premises which make you feel as if you are indeed in a British university.
So the question should actually be "How high do you WANT to reach?" because the choice you make when it comes to studying, predetermines your future, sets the grounds of your career, shields your adult self.
IST’s collaboration with prestigious foreign universities such as LSE, London South Bank University, Catholic University of Lyon, and the University of Hertfordshire, means that you do not have to leave Greece to acquire a prestigious degree of high caliber. It makes absolute sense that a programme from LSE equals better career prospects. What is also important is that the cost of studies is affordable compared to that of studying abroad. Studying at IST costs no more than €23.000 (total cost for a bachelor programme), while at the same time, in the UK the cost amounts to 75,000 euros. Even at a regional university in Greece, the cost of study would reach 50,000 euros. The differences are tremendous!
Then, why is it that even today in Greece, amidst an economic crisis, thousands of students leave to study abroad?
I believe that what caused this tendency to leave and study abroad is the state’s protectionism of higher education. On one hand, we have the Greek University Entrance Exams, the, practically, random choice of programmes of study, the entrance in ineffective universities where students are treated as the third wheel.
On the other hand, the option of private higher education did not really exist (at least not in equal terms) since the process of degree recognitions from the Greek state has been time-consuming and dysfunctional. At last, however, recognition is now a fact! Hundreds of graduates have been granted professional equivalence with the respective public universities, eg. the University of Hertfordshire with the Athens University of Economics. The legal framework is now clear. The persistence of our graduates, along with a little pressure from Troika has finally worked out. The Greek state finally overcame all those years of inflexibility and stiffness.
Finally, we have to realise that Greece could become an educational, cultural and intellectual center and attract foreign students from around the world. Education, as is the case of tourism this year, could be the government’s next success story with enormous benefits for the national economy!