Paradigms of living solidarity from Greece [Part 1]: #tutorpool – A people-led network for free education.

As crisis deepens, solidarity networks are unfolding offering free education and an unprecedented experience of selfless support from fellow citizens. People are changing ways, people are coming together. Freegan Kolektiva explores the meaning of ‘living solidarity’.

As of now, 263 teachers and professors offer 176 courses to 92 pupils for free in a voluntary education network called ‘tutorpool’  which was recently established in Greece. Every educator in order to participate in tutorpool is required to plight not to receive any compensation for sharing his time and knowledge. Priority is given to pupils that do not have the financial ability to receive additional teaching or ‘coaching’, especially those that are preparing for the national exams which are leading to university enrollments. As stated in the homepage of #tutorpool:

“#tutorpool is a network of volunteerism and solidarity for Education. Former pupils transfer their knowledge to today’s pupils. Parents support each other. Pupils meet each other and create”

Why? Is there something wrong with the education in Greece?

One needs to understand that in Greece, education was never really free. Due to low quality of education in public schools, parents in the majority of cases have been forced to provide additional education by means of after-school private lessons. While public education is free, private classes are rather expensive. Not to forget that a lot of parents due to low quality education in public schools were forced to inscribe their kids in private ones.

Many teachers in Greece are nowadays worried that the country is sinking back to ‘dark ages’, since education is not anymore affordable to a large part of the population which is driven to poverty due to the economic crisis. Funds for education are severely cut. For instance, the academic year 2011-2012 started without school books. Some schools closed while others merged, thereby constraining the efforts of teachers and students. The formal institution of additional education (‘coaching’) that came into force the period 1992-1993[1] was recently cut. Under the troika memorandum regime Greece will be conditioned for the next decades to prioritize dept repayment to lenders rather than education or health. Dark ages are indeed real and prescribed. Are people in Greece going to become illiterate? People are already establishing networks of solidarity, refusing to fall to an educational obscurity.

Solidarity networks – education truly free for the needy

It is encouraging to see initiatives like tutorpool, driven by people who want to enlighten society and share their knowledge liberally. Where education is becoming privatized at a global scale, equal opportunities for personal development remain a distant dream for most. Tutorpool is driven by the conviction that free, public education is an inalienable right providing equal opportunities for all.

Tutorpool is an online platform that brings tutors, parents and pupils together [2]. Anybody interested can subscribe in the platform from all corners of Greece to follow a course or create a new one. Teachers are responsible for the quality of education, while the parents are responsible for the overall monitoring of the process.  Lessons can take place at the pupil’s home, in groups as well as online (e-learning).

Apart from ‘core’ school courses like maths and literature, the coordinators want to expand to courses of general interest like dance, webdesign , music etc. Most importantly, tutorpool encourages youngsters to look at their neighbourhoods and communities in a different way: providing solutions and support to others voluntarily. Tutorpool acts also as a forum where pupils are invited to share new ideas for the network and activities for the social good. This is badly needed in order to overcome the crisis of propagated fear, alienation and disappointment that has brought a culture to its knees.

Solidarity beyond borders

International Solidarity: Tutorpool Map of participants

Solidarity transcends borders; there are already volunteer tutors from Germany, Italy, Sweden and Spain among other countries. As crisis deepens, people feel the need to come closer; solidarity is more urgent than ever. As T. Poulitsas, a project participant stated: “Now is that we need each other more, to change the way we live and think and that renders solidarity more timely than ever.” [5]

Tutorpool is another example that demonstrates the power of the internet, which offers people the tools to organize and work together. Tutorpool apart from a website utilizes social media like twitter and facebook [2, 3]. The internet is also an ideological arena: one the one side there is more surveillance, censorship and the concerted efforts of formal institutions to enforce stringent laws and copyrights (PIPA, SOPA, ACTA) while on the other side people are constantly opening up alternatives.

At the next phase, tutorpool coordinators are seeking for public spaces that can be provided by local municipal authorities for free, voluntary education [5].

As a user in twitter precisely pinpointed: ‘’Tutorpool is not philanthropy, it is solidarity.”

(“Το tutorpool δεν είναι φιλανθρωπία, είναι αλληλεγγύη.’’)

Contact by email: contact@tutorpool.gr

or fill in the contact form: http://tutorpool.gr/contact

———————————————————————-

Practical information in Greek – Πρακτικές πληροφορίες στα Ελληνικά:

Tο #tutorpool είναι ένα δίκτυο εθελοντισμού και αλληλεγγύης για την Παιδεία. Οι πρώην μαθητές μεταδίδουν την γνώση στους σημερινούς. Οι γονείς στηρίζουν ο ένας τον άλλο. Οι μαθητές γνωρίζονται μεταξύ τους και δημιουργούν.

Στην ιστοσελίδα του #tutorpool εγγράφονται μόνο οι διδάσκοντες και οι γονείς (ή ενήλικες). Αν είσαι γονιός ή ενήλικος/η μαθητής/μαθήτρια μπορείς να εγγραφείς ώστε να αναζητήσεις μαθήματα ακολουθώντας τις οδηγίες. Όμοια, αν θέλεις να διδάξεις κάποιο μάθημα θα πρέπει να εγγραφείς και να το δηλώσεις ακολουθώντας τις οδηγίες.

Mπορείς να χρησιμοποίησεις τη φόρμα επικοινωνίας (http://tutorpool.gr/contact). Αφού επιλέξεις την ιδιότητα με την οποία θέλεις να απευθυνθείς στο #tutorpool (γονιός, επισκέπτης κλπ) γράψε το ονοματεπώνυμο σου, το email στο οποίο θέλεις να λάβεις απάντηση και το μήνυμα σου. Οι υπεύθυνοι επικοινωνίας θα προσπαθήσουν να σου απαντήσουν το συντομότερο δυνατό.

Αν δεν προτίθεσαι να διδάξεις αλλά θέλεις να συμμετέχεις σε αυτή την προσπάθεια (εθελοντικά/υποστηρικτικά) μπορείς να εγγραφείς στο forum του #tutorpool και να λάβεις μέρος στις συζητήσεις ή να προτείνεις τις δικές σου ιδέες. Μην παραλείψεις να δηλώσεις την επιθυμία σου να βοηθήσεις και μέσω της φόρμας επικοινωνίας, ώστε να λαμβάνεις τα ενημερωτικά email.

Email επικοινωνίας: contact@tutorpool.gr

“Το tutorpool δεν είναι φιλανθρωπία, είναι αλληλεγγύη.”

Sources:

[1] Βρεττός ΓΝ. Ο θεσμός της Ενισχυτικής Διδασκαλίας στην πρωτοβάθμια εκπαίδευση. Μια ιστορική προσέγγιση. Retrieved on the 5th of February 2012 from: http://www.alfavita.gr/artra/art30_7_9_803.php

[2] Mediagate.gr (2011). Tutorpool: Κίνηση αλληλεγγύης στην Ελλάδα με εθελοντές καθηγητές. Retrieved on the 5th of February 2012 from: http://www.mediagate.gr/Internet/item/11315-Tutorpool-Kinisi-allileggyis-stin-Ellada-me-ethelontes-kathigites

[3] News247.gr (2011). Tutorpool, ένα κίνημα αλληλεγγύης στη Παιδεία. Retrieved on the 5th of February 2012 from: http://news247.gr/ellada/paideia/tutorpool_ena_diktyo_ethelontwn_daskalwn_sto_diadiktyo.1541991.html

[4] Μαυραγάνης Π (2011). Δωρεάν φροντιστήριο για τους μαθητές του…  ΔΝΤ. Ελεύθερος Τύπος. Πεμπτη 22 Δεκεμβρίου 2011.

[5] Χατζηδημητρίου M (2012). Tutorpool: Ένα δίκτυο εθελοντισμού που γέννησε η κρίση. Retrieved on the 5th of February 2012 from: http://news247.gr/ellada/People-gr/tutorpool_diktyo_ethelontismou_dwrean_frontisthrio_ekpaideysh.1593230.html

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