ATHENS – Greece is ejecting 90 percent of its college students because they haven’t been going to class – some since the 1950s – and are making no attempt to graduate.
Education Minister Andreas Loverdos, making good on an earlier warning, said that under reforms passed a few years ago but never implemented, the names of any students taking longer than 11 years to complete courses that should run to a maximum of five years will be erased from university registers.
“Everybody has had a long enough time to prepare,” said Loverdos. “All these students were warned in 2007 and then again in 2011.”
The decision could affect as many as 180,000 so-called “eternal students,” an accepted phenomenon in Greece where students frequently don’t attend class and nothing has been done about it.
He said he will not delay or change the measure, which is due to take effect on August 31. “Whoever thinks that we will give ground on this for petty political reasons only has to wait for a few more days to find out whether we will be true to our word,” he said.
Loverdos said while most of these students were not a financial burden for the state, the cleaning up of university records would allow the government to make more accurate calculations about the number of teaching and administrative staff required at the public institutions.
He refused to give further information about the government’s proposal to allow university students to freely transfer between institutions. This has created fears that universities in rural areas will lose students as parents seek to save money by bringing their children closer to home.