Medical school graduates who have obtained their degrees abroad scored grades as low as one in 10 in recent examinations held by the Inter-University Center for the Recognition of Foreign Degrees (DIKATSA). Most of these graduates obtained their degrees at Eastern European universities. The exams included some 40 foreigners and all were taking the them for a second time. According to data obtained by Kathimerini, of the 770 graduates who sat for the examination, the overall failure rate was 66.7 percent. In the examination in surgery, 63.9 percent failed; another 77.5 percent failed to pass general medicine. The average grade for those who failed was 2.69 and for general medicine 2.30. These results raise serious questions as to standards and the value of the degrees obtained at universities in Eastern Europe: Most of the candidates graduated from Romanian and Bulgarian medical schools. One wonders how it is possible for medical school graduates, who sit for examinations to qualify for academic recognition that would allow them to embark on careers as doctors, can obtain a grade of only one. Shouldn’t they be in possession of at least a basic knowledge of pathology and surgery? Even more worrying is the fact that most medical graduates from Balkan universities received a final school grade of below 15 out of 20. According to DIKATSA Director Ioulia Efstathiou, this applies to nearly 60 percent of these graduates, many of whom have even lower grades of «around 12.» How can a student who has an inadequate grasp of his subject of study meet the demands of as difficult a profession as medicine? The results of the latest DIKATSA examinations indicate an urgent need for the continual evaluation of Balkan university degrees. DIKATSA has been trying to safeguard the credibility and transparency of the examinations. Efstathiou said DIKATSA has asked the Education Ministry to hold the exams twice a year (November and April) for there to be no postponement of exams and faster posting of results. The next examinations have been set for Nov. 23 and 24. The next exam sitting will not only be held at the medical schools in Thessaloniki and elsewhere in the provinces but also in Athens.