Greek govt unveils reforms in bid to raise academic standards, boost security on campuses

Wednesday, 13 January 2021 22:31
SOOC/George Vitsaras
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Greece's conservative government on Wednesday unveiled a set of reforms for the country's often troubled higher education sector, changes expected to generate a sharp reaction on the part of the leftist opposition and academics' unions, but in line with ruling New Democracy (ND) party's pre-election pledges.

The primary reform is the re-institution of a minimum enrollment score derived from annual nationwide university entrance exams. When first initiated, a minimum score of 10,000 points out of a perfect 20,000 (50 percent) was the prerequisite for admission to a tertiary public school. The previous SYRIZA government scrapped that requirement.

Nevertheless, lower demand for some university departments -- especially ones in provincial cities and islands - over recent years have witnessed freshmen entering a school with as low as almost 3,000 points. For instance, the lowest passing score for entry into the mathematics department of a University of the Aegean annex on the island of Samos.

Another reform is limiting the number of schools that applicants can list on a preference form.

Finally, the third of the proposed reforms is a ceiling on the number of years a student has in order to complete undergraduate work.  

University rolls currently list students that were admitted and registered for classes decades ago.

Besides an attempt to raise low academic standards plaguing some of Greece's now numerous and scattered universities, the Mitsotakis government also announced measures to boost security and combat vandalism on campuses.

The most prominent proposal is creation of special law enforcement unit that will specifically guard and patrol campuses, a force under the command of Greek Police but with different uniforms and unarmed.

The government also said it aims to restrict access to campuses for non-students and staff.

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