In the presence of the President of the Republic, Karolos Papoulias, at the Old Parliament Building, the “Best of the Best” high school graduates from each region of Greece received their awards today (Thursday, 1 February 2006 ), in the context of “The Great Moment for Education” programme launched by Eurobank EFG in 2003.
Through its “The Great Moment for Education” programme, Eurobank EFG rewards each year, the best graduates who have obtained the highest marks for admission to tertiary education from every senior high school in the country, public or private, day or evening. In the course of 31 award ceremonies, 1,168 graduates won awards for the school year 2005-2006. Since the implementation of the programme, a total of 4,509 top students have been rewarded.
The ongoing “The Great Moment for Education” programme further enhances the Eurobank EFG Group’s significant social contribution to Education, together with its sponsorship activities in other important fields such as Culture, Sports and the Environment.
The Deputy Minister of Education and Religion, Mr. Georgios Kalos, in his speech stressed inter alia that “It is a special honor for the Ministry to be present at today’s ceremony in support of the sponsorship programme “The Great Moment for Education” realised by Eurobank EFG for the last four years. By supporting this programme we fulfill the state’s commitment to reward those who achieve excellence at all levels. Through its “The Great Moment for Education” programme, the Bank abides by the legacy of its founder. Today we do not only reward the students for their efforts and performance, but their parents and teachers as well because this great distinction is the outcome of the parents’ struggle and support and the efforts of conscientious teachers. This sponsorship programme is an important initiative that should be imitated by many others. We thank and congratulate Eurobank EFG for its initiative, which has become an institution. The state lends its support to this endeavour because it recognizes the values of excellence and gives priority to education particularly during these difficult times”.
Eurobank EFG CEO, Mr. Nicholas Nanaopoulos, noted that “Creative cooperation between the state and private organizations could not find a more fertile ground than Education. Unquestionably, a modern Education and an effective educational system are an objective of national importance and the biggest challenge and investment for the future of a society. In the face of this challenge and this necessity, society must mobilize all its forces and resources for a valid and long term response.
At present, unfortunately, Education finds itself at the centre of confrontation which does not only affect the institution itself but also the young generation, which is so sensitive and receptive to all kinds of stimuli. Senseless dispute, generalized aphorisms, levelling arguments, do not contribute to but on the contrary eliminate any prospects of upgrading the educational system which, we all agree, should be the major aim for society as a whole.
We believe that through our sponsorhip intitiative “The Great Moment for Education”, we are able to enhance the significance of timeless and precious values particularly at a time when young people might easily be attracted by opportunistic pursuits that in the end only lead to degradation, failure and disappointment. We insist on values such as effort and consistency, emulation and healthy ambition, creativity, striving for quality and the unique freedom achieved through the continuous improvement of our potential for thought and action”.
On behalf of the award winners, Ms. Athina Sahoulidou, (3rd Comprehensive School of Komotini) who is first among the best graduates, mentioned that “I believe that the students present here today deserve any reward for their outstanding performances and this also applies, more generally, to any young person who, in spite of the difficulties to which Greek students are confronted today, has succeeded in gaining admission to tertiary education. However, I imagine that once there one realizes that this sector too is under assault. Poor facilities, limited possibilities, staff problems and explosive situations like last month’s mass sit-ins by students, quickly dispel any utopian vision students newly admitted to Greek universities might have had about them. It is everybody’s wish that those in charge may become aware of the fact that no modern state can keep up with developments and grow when its education is ailing. Young people have visions for a future that will prove to be less dismal than what we all subconsciously fear and this is why they make demands, often by improper means, because young people’s soul never ceases to react and fight against anything that is not in harmony with its dreams”.
The event was attended, among others, by MPs, chancellors and representatives of all levels of education, as well as members of the country’s economic and social life.
The event was moderated by journalist Ms Heleni Spanopoulou.-