High school change chalked up

Senior high school in Greece could get an extra year of studies under plans that the head of the National Education Council, Thanos Veremis, has recommended to the government. Veremis unveiled his proposals yesterday and said that any scheme to improve the quality of education in Greece has to focus on making senior high schools better. The majority of senior high school students also attend private tuition colleges to prepare for university entrance exams and Veremis told Kathimerini that the planned changes are aimed at ensuring that «senior high schools no longer provide an opportunity for students to skip classes and study at tuition colleges instead.» According to the head of the council, university lecturers and professors are at a loss as to how to get freshmen out of the habit of learning things by rote when they get to university. During the three years of senior high school, great emphasis is placed on students learning the contents of the curriculum by heart with the sole aim of getting good grades on their university exams. Veremis said that one way of breaking the link between senior high school and university would be to create a central examination board, similar to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) in the UK, which serves as a clearinghouse for students applying for a place at university. One of the key proposals, however, is to reduce primary school from six years to five and to add another year to senior high school. This final year of studies would be used to prepare students for university. An alternative, according to Veremis, would be for the first year of university to be used to induct students and prepare them for their tertiary studies. Veremis said that the proposals will be put to discussion this October and the Education Ministry will be in a position to make some firm suggestions next spring. It is widely accepted that this part of the education system needs reform. «I think that some intervention is needed. There is no doubt about that,» the rector of Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University, Anastassios Manthos, told Kathimerini. «But at this moment, I am not sure exactly what form it should take.»