Parents brace for school exams

Teachers warned parents yesterday not to put added pressure on their children, as some 145,000 senior high school students will begin their last week of revision today, with university entrance exams due to begin in a week’s time. The students from around Greece will be competing for some 67,000 places at the country’s universities and some 15,000 places at technical colleges. It will be the third year that the government’s stricter entrance requirements will be in effect, which means that students need to get at least 10 out of 20 in each exam to qualify for a place in tertiary education. The new rules, which are aimed at improving standards at schools and universities, have put added pressure on high school students but teachers told Kathimerini that it is often their parents who display the greatest signs of stress. «Parents react to this difficult situation in a number of ways – some help their children through their behavior and the trust they put in them,» mathematics teacher Stratos Stratigakis said. «On the other hand, other parents, without realizing it, create extra problems for their children through their behavior, which displays signs of increased stress,» he said. Most students are due to finish their exams by the end of May, and the remainder by June 2. This is the first year that students will be sitting exams for six subjects, instead of nine. The high school graduates’ examinations will be followed by examinations for the graduates of technical and vocational high schools (TEE). Only about one in two TEE candidates are expected to be successful, as some 145,000 candidates are to battle it out for a total of just over 82,000 university and technical college places. This second phase of exams is scheduled to conclude on June 27. Examination results are to be made public at the end of June or by the beginning of July. «The issue is for parents to understand what behavior helps their children during this difficult time,» said Stratigakis. «Parents should not be indifferent but they should not make the university entrance exams the center of family life.»