University exams get under way without problems

University entrance examinations began on Friday without any problems, with pupils sitting papers in Modern Greek, following a last-minute decision by secondary school teachers on Thursday to call off their planned strike.

Around 105,000 hopeful high school students are competing for just over 70,000 places at universities and technical colleges, around 3 percent fewer spots than last year. Exams are to resume on Monday with papers in biology, physics, math and history.

The high school teachers’ union OLME decided on Thursday to yield to a civil mobilization order issued by the government that would have led to the arrest and dismissal of any employees joining the walkout. OLME called off the strike on Thursday after a vote by representatives of local teachers’ associations late on Wednesday failed to produce the necessary majority to proceed with the walkout.

The vote was held after OLME failed to draw the firm backing of the country’s two main labor unions, GSEE and ADEDY, as well as the public. The teachers’ also failed to attract broad political support for their cause with the main leftist opposition SYRIZA calling for the planned walkout to be suspended.