Monitors lambast DIKATSA practices

The body which decides whether to recognize degrees from foreign universities as equivalent to those issued in Greece is slow, inconsistent and does not follow guidelines, a report by a team of state inspectors released yesterday concluded. The civil service investigators looked at 300 cases handled by DIKATSA, the Inter-University Center for the Recognition of Foreign Degrees, between 1998 and 2003. Some 228 involved medical or dentistry degrees. They found that some graduates from foreign universities had their degrees approved the same day they submitted them, while for others the process took up to three years. Some 12,000 graduates submit applications to DIKATSA each year and in many cases, especially those to do with medicine, they cannot find work in Greece without having their degrees approved. The inspectors also discovered inconsistencies in the way cases were handled. For instance, four applications from engineering students who graduated from the same British university were each treated differently. Even though DIKATSA operates under the auspices of the Education Ministry, the investigators found that it sometimes went beyond its remit and made up its own rules on evaluating degrees. Last month, the government announced DIKATSA was to be replaced by a new body which would be more efficient and less bureaucratic.