Mini political furor over govt’s back-and-forth on college entrance exams

30 August 2017
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A late summer political furor has erupted in Greece over a government proposal to change the way college entry in the country is achieved, with the relevant minister partially back-tracking this week by saying “there cannot be an education system without examinations.”

Minister Costas Gavroglou, a university professor by training and a long-time leftist activist, told a pro-government Athens daily that “we never referred to the abolition of the nationwide exams, but to an abolition of the process as it has been recorded in citizens’ conscience.”

He was referring to the once-a-year college entrance exams in Greece, usually held in June. In place of the current system, the leftist-rightist government has proposed a two-tier process, with another round of exams possibly held in January. Nevertheless, details are still sketchy, with opposition criticism piling on Gavroglou and the government.

In justifying the latest attempt to change the university entrance system in Greece, Gavroglou claimed that the annual outlay by families in Greece for tutorial schools and private lessons reaches two billion euros. The retort is that families’ expenditures to children’s tutorials will merely increase with another round of college entrance exams.

The most high-profile reaction came from none other than main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who took to Twitter to say:

“From the abolition of the Panellinies (as the nationwide exam is called in Greek), to double exams. Evaluation everywhere is a necessary condition to change the entrance system,” he emphasized.

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