Students at a loss over entry criteria

Thousands of prospective university students were left uncertain about their prospects yesterday, while government officials insisted that the criteria for entry are clear-cut. Last October, the government declared that, in order to enter higher education institutions, students had either to achieve an average grade of 10/20 or earn 10,000 points (out of a possible 20,000) in nationwide entrance examinations. The «or» is especially important, since, as high school professors demonstrated yesterday, students can achieve an average of 7.5/20 and still earn 10,000 points if they write especially well in one or two subjects. Conversely, a student can achieve a 10/20 average while earning less than 8,200 points after the entrance examinations. «Some people who belatedly discovered the provisions (of the circular regarding access to universities) are simply trying to sow confusion,» deputy government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros declared yesterday. It has been said that this provision setting minimum grades for university entrance will leave well over 30,000 students out of higher education. The abolition of the provision was a major demand by striking university students. It has also mobilized the mayors of several cities with newly founded schools of faculties, who fear that many of those will close. This is because, in previous years, students overwhelmingly preferred the big cities, leaving the places at the new faculties to be filled by high school graduates who had earned very low grades.