ATHENS – With a former Education Minister having declared that excellence in education is “not a virtue,” the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA wants to abolish college entrance exams, saying the annual tests are too difficult for many students to deal with.
But with national elections set for 2019 and his party plummeting in the polls after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reneged on anti-austerity promises, Education Minister Costas Gavroglou said it wouldn’t happen until 2020, dangling the promise to students eligible to vote as SYRIZA tries to reverse its slide.
The entrance exam system, in which most students get into universities anyway as even those with failing grades are allowed to enter, would be replaced by a student’s grade point average on their high school diplomas, already lenient because teachers are reluctant to give low grades and face angry parents.
The initiative was announced by Gavroglou, a university professor specializing on the history of science, during an interview with the Sunday weekly RealNews, in which he said the last year of high school would be a kind of college preparatory time.
Greek colleges, apart from a few, fail to register on any international listings for excellence and SYRIZA wants to further reduce the standards.
Gavroglou earlier was dared by students at the National Technical University, one of the country’s best but with poor physical conditions, to spend a night in dorms they said weren’t fit to live in but he never answered them.