One in three students from upper high school and two in three from vocational schools failed to make the grade in this year’s third-level entrance examinations after the minimum entrance thresholds were announced on Friday.
This year saw the implementation of a new system for establishing minimum entry requirements for third-level courses.
Just over 25,000 lyceum students and 10,500 vocational students did not secure a place. Yet over 17,700 vacancies remain at third level, with around 100 departments expecting admissions of fewer than 20 students.
The architecture course at the Democritus University of Thrace will have no new students as no applicant achieved the minimum marks.
Following the publication of the minimum entry requirements, Education Minister Niki Kerameus said the recent educational reform benefited school-leavers and their families.
“Our young people are no longer trapped in universities. Their studies have value as we do not have the phenomenon of people admitted with [low marks].”
Universities would see their prestige and standing improve. The inclusion of public technical colleges in the entrance clearing system for the first time also offered alternatives to young people, she said.
However, main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras accused the government of presiding over a “massacre” of candidates for university admission.
Tsipras referred to an unprecedented “injustice” in the history of the Greek public universities and said the government had chosen to create “universities for the few [and] fee-paying colleges for the many.”
“A prime minister that has not even passed outside a Greek university and has the financial means to send his children to study abroad has decided to clip the wings of thousands of pupils that chose to study in their own country,” Tsipras said.