NEWS

One in three fail university exams

One in three senior high school pupils who sat university and technical college entrance examinations this year failed to get the 50 percent minimum pass rate that ensures them a place in tertiary education, sources at the Education Ministry revealed yesterday, noting a significant deterioration since last year. Thousands of teenagers flocked to their schools yesterday morning and scanned boards set up in the corridors with details of their exam results. But 36 percent of them had failed to get 10 out of 20 (the maximum mark). The worst performances were on history papers, with 64 percent of candidates failing to get the minimum mark of 10, with math students not far behind. The best performances were in chemistry and biology. Draft legislation unveiled by Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou in April abolishes the law requiring students to get at least 10 out of 20 in their examinations to secure a place at a Greek university or technical college. The aim of the proposed reform is to revert to an old system according to which a minimum grade is not required and all available places at tertiary institutions end up being filled. Diamantopoulou is also planning to introduce a new evaluation system for universities, following a decision by the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, in early April ruling that degrees from private colleges be fully recognized. The aim of the evaluation system is for the state to ensure that all colleges meet certain minimum requirements. The ministry’s bid to evaluate the quality of universities has met with resistance from some academics and students who object to any changes to the existing regime, which does not subject universities to regular evaluation. Equally controversial is another bill proposing changes to the appointment of schoolteachers who henceforth can only be hired after sitting examinations set by the Supreme Council for Personnel Selection (ASEP).