Proposals angling for EU funding appraised by team of inspectors

«To get ahead, to have prospects of surviving in Europe, we need to be good, and not just average,» said Themistoklis Xanthopoulos, dean of the NTUA, getting to the nub of the matter. The evaluation was an essential procedure that pinpointed defects and problems, made comparisons and indicated the necessary measures so that Greek universities could survive in the highly competitive environment of the European market. Giving a first picture of the state of Greek universities and technical colleges, the survey, carried out over the last six months by 10 assessors of international repute, examined the proposals submitted by universities and technical colleges (TEI) for upgrading their courses on the basis of the latest technological developments and educational methods within the framework of the Third Community Support Framework (CSFIII). Approval was granted to 77 percent of all university and 74 percent of all TEI proposals. However, according to Kathimerini’s sources, some departments avoided submitting proposals at all, since it was almost certain that they would not be able to meet the high international criteria set by the assessors. In consequence, individuals in the tertiary education system estimated that 40 percent of departments were not undergoing the dynamic development that would win them EU funds. In mid-December, there was a meeting of a special committee at the Ministry of Education composed of eminent university lecturers in all degree subjects. After a searching examination, they went ahead with the publication of the results of the six-month evaluation. Equally important were the low marks awarded to certain proposals that were submitted. Eight was the lowest mark granted for any successful university proposal (with 10 as the top mark) and six for those submitted by TEI. The aim of the European program, through which the winners will receive 65 million euros (75 percent from the European Fund and 25 percent from the Greek State) is to improve course quality. Secretary for EU affairs and CSF-related matters Georgios Tsamasfyros said that upgrading courses needed to aim at modernization that would meet the needs of the labor market, the expansion of IT lessons and proper syllabus organization so that there were no overlaps. Two basic conclusions emerged from the data gathered by the assessors: Central universities are well ahead of provincial universities. There is still a big gap between TEI-granted university status and universities proper. TEI proposals were two marks lower on average than university proposals. The lowest grade for a university proposal was 8, while the lowest for a TEI proposal was 6.14.

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