Jam-packed crammers;Briefing;International

6th August 1999 at 01:00

Government attempts to rid Greek education of its infamous crammer schools have backfired.

Following reforms WHEN?? even more students flocked to the crammers, expanding their turnover many times.

Private schools, instead of going into decline, are flourishing, as parents, reacting against student unrest, are looking for more secure methods of educating their offspring.

According to a recent survey there are now more than 5,000 crammers in the wider Athens area compared to 1,300 senior high schools.

These crammers had become such a normal part of student life that they were accused of undermining the principle of free state education. The reliance on them also placed an unbearable strain on the finances of most parents.

Though these schools are playing in key part in educating the country's young people they are largely uncontrolled and unsupervised.

More than two-thirds of students admit they are studying their entire syllabus at a crammer. The average cost to the parent is an additional Drs 100,000 (pound;200) a month.

The reforms, implemented by education secretary Gerasmos Arsenis, were intended to tackle weaknesses in an system where, for example, more than 30 per cent of this year's senior high-school students failed to achieve promotion to the next class.

Many students are expected to spend the holidays sweating over their books, so they can take repeat exams or be prepared for next year.

Come September, they may feel ready to take another swipe at Gerasmos Arsenis. The country was gripped by student protests earlier this year and many people predict a new cycle of unrest next term.

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