New undergraduates more job-focused

The number of senior high school pupils entering the country’s universities, technical colleges (TEI) and other tertiary education institutions increased this year with a marked shift toward vocation-oriented studies, underlining an increased sense of insecurity among graduates in an increasingly tough job market. Of the 92,426 senior high school pupils who sat university entrance examinations earlier this summer, 68,794 garnered a place for themselves in a tertiary education institution, up 4.4 percent from last year’s 68,224 places. A closer analysis of the exam results revealed an increased interest in colleges offering a greater likelihood of employment on graduation. Teacher-training courses for primary schools and kindergartens attracted more candidates than usual following the creation of new posts at schools across the country. But there was a drop in school leavers’ interest in information technology courses, seen as a reaction to a saturated job market, and a significantly reduced interest in the police force’s cadet school, reflecting fears about heightened risks associated with the police officer’s job following last December’s riots in Athens. It was also clear that an increasing number of school leavers are unwilling to pursue higher education in the provinces with many technical colleges left with half-empty courses. The TEI of Western Macedonia, based in Kozani, tops the list with 1,625 undergraduate course places empty.