NEWS

ND resits education test

In an attempt to adopt a more conciliatory stance following recent unrest among high school pupils and university students, newly appointed Education Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos said yesterday that the government would wipe the slate clean and open up its policy to suggestions from all sides. Spiliotopoulos cited improvements at senior high schools and changes to university entrance requirements as the two main areas in which the government needs to focus its efforts but said that the conservatives are not set on a particular way of achieving this. «We are open and will remain open to dialogue with all members of the education community and all political and social groups,» said the minister following talks with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. «So, we are beginning a dialogue, which will be a tabula rasa [blank slate].» The government will go into the discussions on high schools and university entrance «without decisions that have already been taken, without a dogmatic approach and without stubborn views,» pledged Spiliotopoulos. The minister avoided making any specific comments about when the dialogue might start or how it would be coordinated. However, several options about future reforms have been suggested recently. These include adding a further year of study after high school that would prepare students for university and allowing any pupil to apply for university and then letting the institutions keep those they want after exams. Spiliotopoulos also indicated that the government is open to discussing the issue of asylum, which restricts the ability of the police to enter university grounds. The minister’s overall stance was criticized by PASOK as being too nebulous and aimed only at winning votes. «After five years of New Democracy in power and three ministers having been replaced, the education minister says the government’s education policy is a tabula rasa,» said the Socialists’ education spokesperson Anna Diamantopoulou. «This is the easy way out… the country needs answers about where it is headed.»