Politics

BSA President writes to Greek Education Minister about closure of Sociology in High Schools

The President of British Sociological Association has sent a letter to Greek Education Minister calling her to restore the teaching of Sociology in high schools. The President of BSA, Professor Susan Halford, expressed disgust for the abolition of the subject of Sociology in schools following a political decision, without any pedagogical or other grounds.

Halford noted that the BSA was approached by members of the Greek Sociological Association and the group Sociology High School Teachers in Greece.

Note that one of the arguments of the Greek side for the abolition of Sociology in high schools was that the subject was “turning the youth into communists.”

Below the letter:

Dear Minister Kerameus,

The British Sociological Association has recently been approached by members of the Greek Sociological Association and the group Sociology High School Teachers in Greece. We are shocked to learn from our colleagues in Greece about your recent decision to end the teaching of Sociology in Greek High Schools from this year. We understand that this has been confirmed as a ‘political decision’ but that no other scientific, or pedagogic rationale has been offered.

We are aware of the many campaigns currently going on in Greece, led by teachers and academics, and we write to express our solidarity with those campaigns. In this context, it is important that we defend our discipline by clearly stating the value of a sociological education, and outline what the next generation will lose if this decision is upheld.

Sociology provides the foundations for empirically and theoretically rigorous analysis of the most pressing challenges of our time. Focused on questions of social justice, inequity, and change, Sociology cultivates inquiry and knowledge that is integral to the development of social consciousness and social intelligence. Sociology has a major part to play in informing the next generation about economic distribution and social equality, about race and gender relations, and about how our quality of life, especially health and education, can be improved through social interventions. Sociological knowledge and skills underpin many key occupations and professions across government, industry and the community sector, and cultivate engaged and reflexive citizens. As we face the consequences of the global pandemic, climate change, mass displacement, inequality and rising mental illness, Sociology will need to be central when devising effective solutions.

Your decision to close Sociology will mean that these issues will no longer have a place in the high school education system in Greece. To deny high school students the opportunity to develop this knowledge and understanding, and the skills of critical, analytical and reflexive thinking that accompany a sociological education, seems extraordinary given the challenges we are all facing.

We simply cannot understand why any modern democratic nation would pursue this path. We urgently call on you to re-consider this decision.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Susan Halford
President of the British Sociological Association

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