Greece queries transfer for cash

April 11, 1997

Doctors who provided students with certificates of ill health, and lecturers who gave students the answers to examinations to help their transfer from colleges abroad to Greek universities, are under investigation by Greece's public prosecutor.

The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki has alleged that lecturers in examination panels were paid substantial sums to write the answers for candidates whose otherwise anonymous examination papers were identified by a pre-arranged linguistic code.

In a similar operation, doctors were paid to certify that students suffered from an incurable disease and had to return home in order to be near their families.

Greek students who fail to obtain a place in a Greek university frequently seek a place at an overseas university in the West but also increasingly in the East European universities. After two successful terms, students have the legal right to apply for a transfer to a Greek university provided they satisfy certain criteria: ill-health, psychological or family reasons, or a difficult economic situation. They must also sit an exam. Parents were asked to pay between Drs2 million and Drs5 million (Pounds 5,000-Pounds 12,000).

The scandal came to light when the date of the last examination was altered, and a new date was set with different examiners who knew nothing of the arrangements.

The public prosecutor took away more than 100 examination papers from a total of 700. Forty-five of those papers were cancelled.

The revelations have rekindled the debate for free access to universities for all students who finish secondary school.

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