President Nikos Christodoulides on Tuesday conceded that changes must be made to the twice-yearly exam programme as it has failed in achieving its stated goals.

“The twice-yearly exam programme was introduced to help reduce learning stress, to improve outcomes and some other goals… [but] from the first evaluation that has been done, it is a fact that they did not achieve their goals,” he told reporters.

The president then explained that a more holistic review must take place although there are constraints: the upcoming second set of exams can’t be scrapped, as that would mean two different systems during one academic year.

“Therefore, the direction in which we’re headed towards, after having spoken with Akel’s general secretary Stefanos Stefanou and the education minister, is to look at how we can reduce the weight of the twice-yearly exams in the overall grading evaluation,” Christodoulides said.

He added that that under the current conditions this appears to be the only temporary solution available, stating that the education minister will act within that framework.

The twice-yearly exams, introduced under the term of former Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou, has proved highly controversial.

Prodromou repeatedly defended the move.

Left-wing Akel has consistently called for its abolition, as have teachers, student groups and parents.