Modern Greek was the first subject of the Pancyprian exams which started on Tuesday for 8,198 students across the islands hoping to secure a place in universities in Cyprus and Greece.
Education Minister Costas Kadis called on the students to approach the tests with “maturity, courage, composure, confidence and concentration”.
After the modern Greek test, the students reported on state radio that the subject had been much easier than last year and had included what they had learnt in school. According to Kadis, this was the intention. “The tests should not have any tricks and should be about what is being taught. We aim to get thematically better year by year in order to have better results,” he said.
The exams will be completed on June 10.
Student numbers are down from 8,619 in 2015. In 2014 and 2013 the numbers were even higher, 8,791 and 9,274 respectively.
Speaking on the opening of the exams, the education minister also talked about planned improvements in the educational system.
“Changes are expected to begin on the issue of student assessment by next year when we will shape our final recommendations for the national exams and the evaluation of students in general. We expect that we will present our proposals to the House with the opening of the new Parliament in the summer.”
Kadis also spoke of the new legislation for a quality assurance body in higher education and its function. “The creation and operation of the quality assurance agency in higher education, I would say that it is of paramount importance, because through the body we will substantially raise the quality of education in higher education institutions in our country and this is an important prerequisite if Cyprus wants to upgrade and become a regional centre for higher education,” he said.
“This is a timeless strategic objective and we are confident that the agency will contribute towards this.”