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New type of National Examinations - What will change in Greece high schools

March 08, 2024

Original Article:

The original article requires translation. 

One of the first issues that Kyriakos Pierrakakis will deal with after the passing of the bill is the Pan-Hellenic Examinations for admission to HEIs: in the Ministry of Education they are talking about starting a dialogue immediately after the passing of the law on universities, noting that the current system it has the serious advantage of ensuring immutability, however it has the equally serious disadvantage of judging each candidate's performance in four tests, without taking into account the wider performance of students during their High School years.

What they are now studying - declaring in advance that they will seek a broad consensus - is a  combination of exams using the subject bank , with the aim of having a longitudinal picture of each candidate and taking into account for admission to universities more parameters than the current system of the Panhellenic Examinations.

As has pointed out,  the  Ministry of Education  is putting the final "touches" on the new legislation it is preparing and which concerns admission to higher education.

According to information, the ministerial staff is in a hurry to "balance" the admission system between the two pillars of higher education, as it now calls the public Universities and the private ones, to which it opens "doors and windows".

In this context, he is preparing to open an  Academic - National Baccalaureate subject ,  where  with the "core" of the Subject Bank, the General Average of the Baccalaureate will be obtained from the grades of the three classes of the Lyceum with a special coefficient per class.

Already with careful steps for three years  with the Subject Bank, the Ministry of Education is trying to assemble, organize and "polite" its goals for school education, students and teachers.

The Minister of Education Kyriakos Pierrakakis had announced his intention for changes in the system of access to HEIs in the Parliament, in the context of the programmatic statements,  pointing out that the Ministry of Education is opening "the dialogue on the National Baccalaureate for a commonly accepted way of access to HEIs, compatible both with international trends and with the acquis of the Panhellenic Examinations".

He himself, speaking about two months ago (November 2023) at the 34th Annual Greek Economic Summit, announced that in the first half of 2024 he will proceed with changes for  "the open school, the free university and the modernization and targeting of Vocational Education & Training"  with the aim of  "upgrading education, reducing bureaucracy and investing in knowledge and new skills that will provide our young people with more and better resources in a globalized and changing environment". He also made it clear that  "school changes will be the third time area of ​​reforms as vocational education and non-state universities come first."

With a barrage of "opinion" publications, the Ministry of Education began the operation of acquiring the consent of "public opinion" and in this context it was not at all accidental the reappearance of  Giorgos Babiniotis  who, with articles and appearances in the media, spoke of the need for a major reform that would concerns the "end of the Panhellenic Examinations" and will aim at the   "Resurrection of the Lyceum"!

So, according to the professor who is close to the ruling party, " the performance of the student in the three years of high school (and not in a three-hour exam!) will form a reliable picture of the student's capabilities, taking the form of a kind of "Academic Baccalaureate ". This performance will count mainly for admission to HEIs in conjunction with a nationwide exam that will complete the image of the candidate for as long and as many times as deemed appropriate by the HEIs themselves."

The new plan
A combination of elements from previous systems is the new organization of the high school and the method of admission to universities.

The basic scenario that is qualified and will probably apply from the next 1st year of high school is the following:

• In the 1st Lyceum, the students will be examined in all subjects, with examination supervision and correction of the writings by the school teachers. Half of the topics will be selected by the course instructor and the other half by lottery from an upgraded Topic Bank.

• In the 2nd Lyceum, students will choose a scientific orientation (as now) and will be examined in 4 subjects. One course will be the Modern Greek Language of General Education and the students will choose the remaining 3 according to the scientific field they want to study. For the field of humanitarian studies, it will be Ancient, Latin, History. For the field of positive sciences, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry. For health sciences, Biology, Chemistry, Physics. For the field of economics - informatics, Mathematics, Principles of Economic Theory, Informatics.

In the exams of the 4 courses, all subjects will be selected by the T.Th. and will be the same for each school. The supervision of the exams and the correction of the writings will be done by teachers from another school.

The final grade of each course will result from the grade in the written exams and the grade of the four months assigned by the professor. But the teacher's grade will be adjusted (probably +/-3) to the grade of the written exams.

How will the grade of the national baccalaureate be obtained?
The grade of the national baccalaureate will result from the grades of the last two or all three classes (there is a dichotomy at this point). If only the grades of the two classes count, their weight will be 30%-40% for the 2nd and 60%-70% for the 3rd Lyceum. If the grade of the 1st Lyceum also counts, the percentages will be 10% for the 1st, 30% for the 2nd and 60% for the 3rd Lyceum.

How will the degree of access for admission to HEIs be determined?
For admission to universities, students will receive an access grade, which will result from the average of the exam grades in the 4 orientation courses of the 3rd Lyceum. With it, they will submit a computerized report for the HEIs, just like now. Of course, the average in the 4 subjects in the 2nd Lyceum exams will also be taken into account, but only if it is better than the 3rd Lyceum average. To obtain an access degree, one must have obtained a national baccalaureate.

A first critical look
The National Baccalaureate draws elements and philosophy from other previous versions of nationwide exams or announcements that did not manage to materialize. Its "cousins" are similar announcements by George Papandreou in the mid-90s, the Arseni system (1998/99), the ideas of Anna Diamantopoulos in 2010/11 and the programmatic announcement of the ND in 2019.

Where it looks like two drops of water is in philosophy and intentions. We are talking about the effort to cut off in every way the disposition of so many young people for higher studies and to correspond in Greece the socio-economic status with the studies and degrees.

Essentially, with the "national baccalaureate" that is being planned, an attempt is made to close the road to public universities for a large part of the student population and, accordingly, to open the pool of "customers" for colleges and private universities.

We don't need to consume a lot of... statistics, to prove that the goal was and is to set up a complete and "armored interception mechanism" of those who are preparing in the future to knock, firstly, on the doors of the Lyceum and secondly on the doors of the Universities.


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