A discussion between teachers and the government will begin in September to change the way university entrance exams are conducted, an Education Ministry official said yesterday. «The entrance system for tertiary education is not something static,» said Education Ministry general secretary Andreas Karamanos during a conference on university education in Thesaloniki yesterday. «It is a topical matter that is troubling other European countries as well,» he added, indicating that the government would begin debating the issue in September via the National Education Council, which is made up of representatives from high schools, universities and political parties. Thousands of senior high school students are currently in the middle of their university entrance exams but the government has assured that any new system will not be implemented until two years after it is devised. Karamanos said the reforms would revolve around three basic pillars. Firstly, the government will maintain the current centralized system for university entrance exams. Secondly, high school students will no longer sit the same exams to graduate and to enter university. Those not trying to apply to universities or technical colleges will sit high school graduation exams. Universities will likely be given a say in the content of the entrance exams. The government thinks this system will ease the pressure on high schools. Thirdly, students will be forced to choose from fewer options for the degrees they want to study at university. This is intended to encourage students to pick courses that are suited to their skills and interests rather than degrees that may be seen as soft options.