Blushes as teachers flunk exam

11th September 1998 at 01:00
GREECE

Parents and politicians have been stunned by the embarrassing results of the first Panhellenic teachers' examinations, in which more than three-quarters of the candidates failed.

Out of 28,106 candidates only 7,056 passed. Specialist teachers performed even more dismally. The pass rate for naturalists was 0.49 per cent, for teachers of law and politics it was 1.19 per cent, for primary teachers 5.43 per cent, while no one was successful in information technology. The results have left the education system open to ridicule.

Some people blame the hostile climate which prevailed during the exams - when teacher protests over its introduction led to clashes with police - and the boycott imposed by trades unions. Others blame the lack of adequate preparation by the candidates, irrelevant materials and the lack of previous experience by the assessors.

Education secretary Gerasimos Arsenis, who staked his reputation on ensuring that a proportion of new teachers acquired the examination, appears to be trapped between revoking his own law and an expensive and time-consuming repeat exam with lower pass criteria.

It is estimated that to cover demand in primary education this year more than 4,000 teachers would need to be appointed -80 per cent would have to come from the teachers' register and the rest from the exam which only 178 candidates passed.

Mr Arsenis hoped that the introduction of the examination would ensure higher standards of teaching. But the academic community wants an immediate and radical reform of the system.

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