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Parents say twice-yearly exams already costing students uni places

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January’s twice-yearly exam grades may have cost final year students their futures, parents said on Tuesday, demanding the education ministry take responsibility for what happened and act accordingly.

Speaking to the press, a group of parents whose children are in the final grade of lyceum, said that rejections have started to roll in from foreign universities as a result of the bad grades their children ended up with following the upsets that marked January’s exams.

The education ministry came under fire in January after an exam was interrupted due to the topics being leaked. Students then proceeded with a different paper later in the day despite the fact some had already left, prompting many to say that the exam should have been postponed to a later date.

This had been the last straw, topping complaints of excessive material in relation to the available teaching time, and difficult papers, which saw students protesting against the exams and parents threatening to shut down schools.

In a new appeal, parents renewed the demand made by teachers’ and parents’ associations in February for the results of the January exams to be invalidated, which had been rejected by then-Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou, who said the average score reflected the previous year.

But according to Lena Antoniadou, who spoke on behalf of the parents to Alpha TV, many students have already been rejected by foreign universities, using as an example universities in the Netherlands, which have set 18 as the basis for Mathematics.

This makes securing places unattainable for a large number of final year students, she said.

“It is very sad for the children, because of this injustice, that the efforts of so many years have been nullified,” she said, adding that nobody has taken responsibility for mistakes and omissions made in the first semester of the school year.

The parents expressed the hope that deputies in the House education committee would consider corrective measures that would prevent this phenomenon taking on even greater dimensions with more rejections, and possibly lost scholarships to come.

Education Minister Athina Michaelidou was present at the House committee on Tuesday to discuss the education ministry’s proposal for changes to the student evaluation system, which largely involves an alternative to the twice-yearly exams.

Following the session, Michaelidou explained that the proposal discussed primarily concerned the rest of the current school year, which will involve another set of exams.

Among other things, the proposal would see the weight of the written exam reduced to 20 per cent, with the oral exam counting for 80 per cent of the total grade for the final exams, she said.

“The solution we proposed, and the emergency adjustments we are going to be applying, are just for the second semester of the current year, and concern the few weeks remaining, to ensure a smooth ending to the school year,” she said.

Back in January, the legal service had ruled that the ministry cannot legally intervene in January’s grades, with the minister now saying that the new proposal aims to do everything legally possible to help.

Michaelidou said that the arrangements proposed, which include a reduction in the weight of the written exam, a reduction in the material, and changes in exam topics and grading, will provide a good opportunity for students to do well.

“At the same time, they also provide the basic principles for our proposal for a permanent student evaluation system that will be effective from the next school year,” she said.

The proposal will be finalised by the end of May, Michaelidou said.

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