NEWS

Health and education

This promises to be a landmark year for the country’s education system. For the first time in many decades, politicians and education officials will make joint decisions regarding changes to the education system in a dialogue over the content and duration of compulsory education, the role of the senior high school, tertiary entrance qualifications, evaluation of all educational levels, job qualifications, and developments at tertiary institutions. Education Minister Marietta Giannakou and her deputies Giorgos Kalos and Spyros Taliadouros have decided to abolish state examinations in the second year of senior high this year and as of the 2005-2006 school year, to reduce the number of subjects from nine to six in third-year senior high. In the health sector, a new policy in the area of medications and changes to the way hospitals are supplied are to be introduced in the first half of 2005. In 2004 the new leadership at the Health and Social Solidarity Ministry appeared determined to correct the ills of previous years. The first half of the year focused on health arrangements for the Games, but afterward a number of developments prepared the ground for major institutional changes, such as the pilot program of a new system of duty rosters and hospitals that began at the end of November and which has already produced a major reduction in the number of camp beds in hospital corridors. The ministry has presented a proposal for a new policy on medications, abolishing the list of approved prescribed drugs and a new system of reimbursement for medications based on the diagnosis and evaluation of the prescription. A bill is to be issued by the end of January.