Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Character, knowledge and skills in ancient Greek education: Lessons for today’s policy makers

Bitros, George C. and Karayiannis, Anastasios D. (2009): Character, knowledge and skills in ancient Greek education: Lessons for today’s policy makers.

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Abstract

The efforts to alleviate poverty by increasing social budgets have failed everywhere in the world and now the question is what else can be done to support those that are left behind. In this paper we search for illumination in the approaches to education that Athens and Sparta adopted in the peak of their power. Our findings indicate that both city-states confronted their challenges successfully because they managed to mold into the character of their citizens “ethos” compatible with the integrity of their institutions. On this ground, and given that “knowledge” and “skills” as engines of economic growth are in the interest of the individuals to accumulate, we conclude that an alternative policy to check the trend towards extreme individualism is to place priority on the character of citizens and pursue it through appropriate restructuring of educational curricula in the direction suggested by ancient Athens.

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