According to the Greek Constitution, all Greek citizens are entitled to free and public education. The Greek educational system is mainly divided into three levels, namely primary, secondary and tertiary, with an additional post-secondary level providing vocational training. Graduates of Greek High Schools have access to Greek Universities through competitive nation-wide university-entry exams. The number of students admitted is determined by the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs on an annual basis. Part of this process requires the candidates to declare their preferences to attend certain university departments, if they are successful in the exams. Essentially, each preference form is an ordered list of departments; the candidate’s most preferred department is the first in the list, followed by the second most preferred and so on, until the candidates’ preferred departments are exhausted. Eventually, assigning candidates to university departments, up to the departments’ capacity, depends on the candidates’ exams scores (how good a candidate is), their preferences (what does the candidate want) and the number of seats allocated to each university. Consequently, filling in the preference form is a crucial factor for a candidate’s admission, so the candidate should have all the information and time needed to decide.
Up until now, interested candidates had ten days to fill in their preference-forms in hard copy and personally submit them in one of the 200 special offices established throughout the country for this purpose. The submission period was usually at the beginning of July, after the end of the exams.
This bureaucratic procedure had a number of inherent deficiencies:
Applicants formed large queues outside the special offices, especially during the last two days before the submission deadline. This was a rather exhausting experience for everyone.
Moreover, family schedules were disturbed, potentially people could not plan their summer holidays etc.
Also, the candidate was unable to modify his/her preference-form after submitting it even in cases when the deadline had not expired.
Finally, the total cost of the preferences collection procedure was approximately two million euros, which is rather high considering the low quality of service offered to the public.