The evaluation of universities, one of the elements of New Democracy’s much-criticized education reforms, passed during the government’s first term in power, is only now being implemented, it was revealed yesterday. Professor Spyros Amourgis, president of the Hellenic Quality Assurance Agency, yesterday presented the Education Ministry with the results of the evaluation of five departments at universities around the country. They were the first five reports to be handed to authorities some two years after a law was passed requiring all tertiary institutions to undergo internal and independent assessment. Teachers and students are asked to evaluate their departments, in terms of infrastructure, facilities and staff performance, before external assessors, including staff from foreign universities, also examine the institution’s performance. «The completion of these assessments is an extremely important step, as we encountered a great deal of opposition in the process,» Amourgis told Kathimerini. «There is no question of the evaluation reports being used to rank the institutions.» The main problem highlighted by the assessment of these five university departments is the lax standards at the universities. For example, the average time taken for a student to graduate from one of the departments is eight years. «The assessment is a way for us to improve,» the head of Crete’s technical college, Giorgos Tsironis told Kathimerini. «Unfortunately, Greece does not have the necessary culture but all universities and public bodies should be evaluated so that taxpayers know how they are performing.» Amourgis said that another 167 departments are currently undergoing assessment.