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Teacher aspirants fail to pass qualifying exams

teachers failing
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Exams sat by prospective teachers to gain a post in public schools came under scrutiny on Tuesday after dramatic failure rates were recorded for those wishing to teach Greek and Maths.

This year exams were held for the fourth time since 2015, when a system of placement based on a list of all those who wished a position began to be legally dismantled.

The idea was that by 2027 only teachers who pass a biennially offered exam in their teaching subject will be eligible for appointment.

However, in some subjects, notably in philology and maths the pass rate this year was just seven per cent. This translated to a total of 31 Greek teachers and 23 Maths teachers qualifying in total.

For kindergarten and primary school teachers the pass rates stood at 43 and 11 per cent respectively.

Head of Oelmek teachers union Demetris Taliadoros, speaking to the CyBC, downplayed concern over results and took pains to point out that marks were not disheartening across the board.

“In Biology, for example, we had an 81 per cent pass rate and in English 80 per cent […] therefore failure is not pervasive,” he said.

Taliadoros attributed the results partly to problems with the statistical handling of the marking system, and partly to the fact that exceptionally difficult questions were included in the testing materials, in both philology and maths.

Head of primary teachers union Poed Myria Vassiliou said a dialogue is needed about inconsistencies in testing.

When the small pool of applicants who succeeded in their exams runs out, appointments are made from the waiting list because posts need to be filled, she said. This could happen at a different rate to the 50-50 written in the law for 2027, if too few candidates manage to pass their exams and end up on the merit-based list.

The union rep also took issue with the idea that a candidate’s teaching skills could be assessed and captured by a single exam result.

“We are asking for a review of the situation with the ministry of education,” she said.

The education ministry’s Demetris Chandriotis said a discussion would be held but pointed out that the latest exam results were no different to the previous three.

“The ministry believes improvements can be made […] targeted interventions can take place and legal regulation may be required,” he said.

It’s true that in the three categories of Greek, Maths and primary school teachers, there is a problem in knowledge base,” he acknowledged.

The fact that any candidate – having successfully passed or not – can re-sit the exam, and exam results are calibrated against previous years’ aggregated results, can skew outcomes, he added.

“We will not hide behind the statistical issues, however, but we will look at the whole matter comprehensively to correct any faults,” he said.

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