ATHENS – After discovering that only 10 percent of Greek college students graduate, Education Minister Andreas Loverdos said he will expel 200,000 so-called “Eternal Students” who don’t attend classes.
The problem has been known for years with no attempts to do something about it and Loverdos said he is determined to be the one to get rid of students who don’t have to attend class, can flunk and stay in school and spend much of their lives – some into pensioner’s age – just hanging around the campus doing nothing.
That comes after the shocking revelation from the Paris-based Organization for the Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that 90 percent of Greek college students never graduate.
They stay enrolled without going to classes or taking examinations, while at the same time costing millions of euros to the education budget.
Unlike American colleges where students have to maintain a certain grade level or be booted, there are no standards for Greek college students to do anything if they don’t want to graduate.
Loverdos said he will delete the students from university registers who are making no attempt to graduate. The ministry the 200,000 will be kicked out next month.
He said the laggards had been given many chances but did nothing in response despite being offered a chance to take exams to continue their studies and that many have no interest in getting a degree, despite the country’s crushing economic crisis in which jobs are scarce.
There are about 230,000 students in Greek colleges but only about 30,000 are actively trying to get a degree, the ministry said. This is the first time that an education minister is trying to eject the eternal students.
Despite the lenient conditions, students often take to the streets in protest against measures that would reform the colleges.
Greece also refuses to abide by European Union law to allow private universities and won’t recognize degrees from private universities for those who want state jobs.