By Constantinos Psillides
MODERN Greek exams have caused yet more uproar after official results posted on Tuesday showed that students scored the lowest ever scores in the history of the exam.
With an average grade of eight out of 20, the disappointing results have been linked to the ‘End of Delusions’, an essay topic that formed part of the exam and sparked controversy during the May exams because it was deemed incomprehensible and unsuitable for students.
The grade average for Modern Greek was 9.48 in 2014, 9.52 in 2013 and 8.88 in 2012.
Some 8,400 students took the Modern Greek exam, out of a total of 8,619.
Modern Greek was not the only subject with a low exam grade average. The 2,907 students taking Maths barely made it over the half-way mark – 10.32 out of 20 – which is about the same as the Physics average. According to the ministry 1,794 students sat the Physics exam and had an average grade of 10.88 out of 20.
History also took a hit – 1059 students scored a 9.75 average – while things looked slightly better for English. The 1,894 students scored an average of 13.87.
The highest grade average recorded was for Russian. The 108 students who took the exam scored a grade average of 16.93 out of 20.
Education Minister Costas Kadis, asked to comment on the exam results, said that he was troubled not only by the low scores in Modern Greek but the overall score drop in all subjects.
“It is developments like this one that steel our determination to go forward with our education reforms,” said the minister, adding that he will be looking into the possibility of separating the schools’ final exams – needed for the school certificate – from introductory exams to higher education institutions.
Kadis is in the middle of extensive reforms to the educational system, including sweeping changes to the syllabus, increasing language and maths teaching hours and introducing a new appointment system for teachers. The bill on changes to the appointment system will be approved by the Cabinet today before going to a plenum session of the House of Representatives.
The failure in Modern Greek also prompted a reaction from the political parties. Ruling party DISY MP Efthimios Diplaros said that “we should apologise to our children for failing to provide them with proper education”.
But main opposition party AKEL MP Costas Costa claimed that “this is not a public school failure since the students were faced with an unprecedented challenge,” referring to the controversial exam essay topic.
Students taking the exams had complained that the essay question, which referred to the effects the economic crisis has had on Cyprus, was too difficult.
The essay title read: “Within this global framework, which is fluid and turbulent, our country remains a special case as always. It went through a lot during this period, but it seems to have learned little. However, in recent years, it is going through a historic moment: the end of the delusions.”
In the face of public and political party criticism Kadis promised to re-evaluate the essay topics procedure.
Around 68 per cent of the 8,619 students that took the exams are competing for a spot at Cyprus and Greek universities.
The entrance exam results will be announced next week.