NEWS

Inactive students seize last opportunity

THESSALONIKI – A new bill on tertiary education with provisions for weeding inactive students out of university and college matriculation registries has brought to light all kinds of secrets and lies. Thousands of people, some enrolled as long ago as the 1950s, still appear as registered students at major universities. Article 14 of the new bill offers them a last opportunity to complete their studies. Registrars of university departments began the process of recording and informing inactive students about a month ago, and the first statistics are revealing. Even retirees who had given up their courses of study for various professional or personal reasons have expressed their decision to resume their studies. The letters they send also reveal secrets that have remained hidden for years. There are some students who had told their parents they had graduated and others who claimed that they only needed to complete one more subject to get their degree. Some are graduates who had enrolled in another school and now want to make use of their retirement to get their second degree. Others have pursued a career unrelated to their course of study without ever relinquishing their student status, and yet others still posses their student identity card. There is a long list of names on the handwritten and digital records that are being cleared out. The secretaries inform the students by sending them letters, a difficult and time-consuming process, since many addresses have changed and the letters get returned. The situation at Macedonia University is chaotic, with students still enrolled from 1957, when the first two departments of the Thessaloniki Trade School were founded. Searching through handwritten records will take time, so the university will make a general announcement to inform students. The Theology School of Thessaloniki has some 4,000 students still enrolled since the 1970s. The first letters have gone out and already there has been a great response. At least 15 a day declare that they want to resume their studies. So far some 150 of them have submitted applications. The Philosophy School also has a large number of students whose enrollment dates back to the 1970s. The Philology Department posted around 500 letters, prompting quite a few responses from students wanting to continue. Handwritten records going back 30 years are making it hard to establish the exact number of long-time students at the Law School. More progress has been made in the Architecture Department, facilitated by computerized records of 250 of the 307 students. The Chemical Engineering Department sent out 200 letters, while the Civil Engineering Department located some 500 students who have been enrolled in the department for more than 10 years. Three or four students from the list of around 800 at the Medical School have asked to re-enroll. Among them is a man of 70, who had not yet received the letter when he submitted his application to continue his studies.