If education reflects a country’s cultural level, I severely doubt ours scrapes a pass.

The depressing images of thugs in hoods with clubs, the layabouts passing themselves off as a poor man’s “student movement”, the mindless sound-bites regurgitated ad nauseam for the cameras by various “militant squatters” all bear witness to a mess that can only reflect badly on the country.

And there at their side, educators and politicians encouraging them, flattering them, aiding and abetting the social anachronism to further their own agendas.

Exploiting kids’ insecurity to soft-soap their own.

The creation of “non-state” universities might be the shock required to jolt the system free of stupidity and low cunning. Time will tell.

But what this country really needs is serious reform. Educational reform for all and at every level.

For better or worse, we’ve entered the second quarter of the 21st century without ever leaving the 20th. The world is moving on, and a lot of our kids are being left behind.

Within Greek education, even the trade union movement does little else these days than mothball the system through protest.

So the situation is serious and can’t be saved with the odd patch here and there. Nor by viewpoints the contemporary world has long since left behind.

Because if “public and free education” has served for decades as a mechanism for social integration and advancement in Greece, it is clearly no longer enough in itself. Not for everyone, at least.

That any serious country is under an obligation to provide it goes without saying. And, obviously, it has to make it available to all, inclusively.

But no country can be considered serious simply because it fulfills its fundamental obligations.

So let me accept that the authorities concerned will ensure that the “non-state, non-profit universities” don’t end up being nothing more than private colleges, crammers and vocational training colleges in disguise.

That it will keep a close eye on the educational content and strive to ensure the degrees they award actually mean something.

But for real change, we have to start much earlier and far lower down. To really work, reform needs to start with schools. Elementary school. Middle school and high school.

And with the teachers. The educators. The buildings. The learning communities. It has to start with skills. And with broadening horizons.

It has to do that, because there’s likely little we can do to change the main determinant of every child’s education, which is the family.