Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday toured the Attica Technology Park “Lefkippos” – the so-called “Greek Silicon Valley” – and other facilities at the National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos”.
Accompanied by Education Minister Costas Gavroglou and Alternate Minister for Research and Innovation Costas Fotakis, with the director and president of Demokritos Giorgos Nounessis as their guide, the prime minister was given a tour of the various company laboratories on the site and talked with the scientists.
At the technology park, Tsipras visited the laboratories of the companies FASMATECH, PROTATONCE, PLINIOS and FUTUREINTELLIGENCE and afterwards the facilities of Tesla Greece, where most of the employees are Greeks that have returned from abroad and the rest are students at the National Technical University of Athens (Metsovio Polytechnic).
In the last four years the SYRIZA government succeeded in increasing the funds directed to research and made efforts to reverse the brain drain, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said during his meeting to discuss the topic: “From brain drain to brain gain”.
Tsipras said he had visited Demokritos five years ago in an attempt to turn a spotlight on the issue of the brain drain. From the first moment, he added, the SYRIZA government had made it a priority to reverse this trend. He noted that political will and funds were required to address the problem and, while the SYRIZA government had done a great deal in this area, there were still many more things to be done.
The prime minister said that a choice made by young people to acquire more education should not be demonised and that the ‘brain drain’ concerned both those that left out of necessity and those who elected to leave and did not have opportunities to return and offer their services to the country, contributing to the effort to restructure Greece’s production base.
Greek education system has considerable potential
The belittling of Greek Universities, research centres, scientists and researchers had been a generalised trend in previous years, which adopted the attitude that, since we can’t improve the work produced by the state universities we should not try or seek funds to upgrade them but allow the founding of private universities instead, Tsipras said while speaking to young scientists.
He expressed his opposition to this way of thinking, adding: “I believe that the Greek education system, with all its problems and shortcomings that we must work to fix, from primary school to high school and the universities, has significant potential that we can develop.”
Instead of simply lamenting over the young people that left to go abroad, Tsipras said, it was necessary to at least agree that Greece’s national aim and strategy should be to excel in the sectors of research, innovation and new technology as other countries with less potential than Greece had succeeded in doing, with substantial results.