Education in Greece
The Greek educational system is mainly divided into three levels, namely primary, secondary and tertiary, with an additional post-secondary level providing vocational training. Primary education is divided into kindergarten lasting one or two years, and primary school spanning six years (ages 6 to 12). Secondary education comprises two stages: Gymnasio (variously translated as Middle or Junior High School), a compulsory three-year school, after which students can attend Lykeio (an academically-oriented High School) or Vocational training. Higher Tertiary education is provided by Universities and Polytechnics, Technological Educational Institutes (T.E.I., 1983 ~ present) and Academies which primarily cater for the military and the clergy. Undergraduate courses typically last 4 years (5 in polytechnics and some technical/art schools, and 6 in medical schools), postgraduate (MSc level) courses last from 1 to 2 years and doctorates (PhD level) from 3 to 6 years.
All schools, regardless of level, are overseen by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. The Ministry exercises centralised control over state schools, by prescribing the curriculum, appointing staff and controlling funding. Private schools also fall under the mandate of the Ministry, which exercises supervisory control over them. At a regional level, the supervisory role of the Ministry is exercised through Regional Directorates of Primary and Secondary Education, and Directorates of Primary and Secondary Education operate in every Prefecture. Tertiary institutions are nominally autonomous, but the Ministry is responsible for their funding, and the distribution of students to undergraduate courses. Currently the Greek government only recognises the degree programmes offered by the state-run universities although there are several private universities and colleges offering degree programmes that are validated and overseen by American, British and other European universities. Attempts are under way to persuade the Greek government to recognise these overseas programmes.
All levels of education are catered for by both private and public schools. State-run schools and universities do not charge tuition fees and textbooks are provided free to all students. There are also a number of private tutors schools, colleges and universities operating alongside the state education and providing supplementary tuition. These parallel schools (Greek: φροντιστήριο, frontistirio (singular)) provide foreign language tuition, supplementary lessons for weak students as well as exam preparation courses for the competitive Panhellenic national examinations. Most of the students typically attend such classes (and examinations) at the tutors schools in the afternoon and evening in addition to their normal schooling.
Elementary schools are called "Dimotiká" (demotic, meaning municipal), a carryover term from a time when such schools were run by local communities. The name remains although it has been obsolete for decades. In the first two years pupils are not officially graded, and parents obtain feedback about their performance via oral communications with teachers. Grading begins in Year 3, and written exams are introduced in Year 5. Graduating from one year to the next is automatic, and pupils with deficient performance are given remedial tutoring. Years are called "classes", from first to sixth:
Year 1 (Πρώτη δημοτικού): age 6 to 7
Year 2 (Δευτέρα δημοτικού): age 7 to 8
Year 3 (Τρίτη δημοτικού): age 8 to 9
Year 4 (Τετάρτη δημοτικού): age 9 to 10
Year 5 (Πέμπτη δημοτικού): age 10 to 11
Year 6 (?κτη δημοτικού): age 11 to 12
Enrollment to the next tier of compulsory education, the Gymnasium, is automatic.
Γυμνάσιο (Gymnasium - Middle / Secondary School) (compulsory education)
Πρώτη Γυμνασίου / 1st grade, age 12 to 13
Δευτέρα Γυμνασίου / 2nd grade, age 13 to 14
Τρίτη Γυμνασίου / 3rd grade, age 14 to 15
Γενικό Λύκειο (General Lyceum - High School)
Πρώτη Λυκείου / 1st grade, age 15 to 16
Δευτέρα Λυκείου / 2nd grade, age 16 to 17
Τρίτη Λυκείου / 3rd grade, age 17 to 18
Tertiary Education in Greece
Ανώτατα Εκπαιδευτικά Ιδρύματα - Α.E.I. (Higher Educational Institutes)
Higher Educational Institutes are consisted of two parallel sectors: the Universities and the Higher Technological Educational Institutes (T.E.I.).
There are public and private dimotika (primary education), gymnasia (middle school; secondary education), lykeia (high school; secondary education). Some of them are for foreigners, usually children of British or American families. For example see American Community Schools.
Public and private IEK.
According to the article 16 of the Greek constitution, private tertiary education isnt allowed in Greece. However there are some Laboratories of Free Studies (Ergastiria Eleutheron Spoudon), often franchises of foreign universities, sometimes non-profit organizations, which advertise themselves as private universities. For example see New York College, BCA Business College of Athens, ALBA Graduate Business School, University of Wales, Bangor, Mediterranean College, Deree College, etc.
Vocational Education and Training
Επαγγελματικό Λύκειο, ΕΠΑ.Λ. (Epagelmatiko Lykio - Educational Lyceum, EPA.L.)
I.E.K. - Ινστιτούτο Επαγγελματικής Κατάρτισης (Institouto Epagelmatikis Katartisis - Vocational Training Institute). O.E.E.K. is the government organization which oversees these institutes.
Private EES schools often offer seminars and 1-year vocational programmes, usually for Computing or Business studies. Young Greeks can seek private vocational education using the computer software products Eurofasma and Kefaleo (Capital).
Τεχνικό Επαγγελματικό Εκπαιδευτήριο, ΤΕΕ (Techniko Epagelmatiko Ekpedeftirio - Technical Vocational School, TEE)
Τεχνικό Επαγγελματικό Λύκειο, ΤΕΛ (Techniko Epagelmatiko Lykeio - Technical Vocational Lyceum, TEL)
Τεχνική Επαγγελματική Σχολή, ΤΕΣ (Techniki Epagelmatiki Scholi - Technical Vocational School, TES)
Ενιαίο Πολυκλαδικό Λύκειο, ΕΠΛ (Eniaio Polykladiko Lykeio - Unified Multidisciplinary Lyceum, EPL)
The foremost topic of debate in recent years has been anagnorisi (αναγνώριση "recognition"): Private universities are forbidden by the 1975 constitution. Numerous private institutions, often franchises of European and American universities such as the University of Indianapolis and the State University of New York, but also non-profit accredited institutions, are operating legally as EES schools (translatable as "Laboratories of Free Study").
Moreover, with few exceptions, the Greek government refuses to recognize three-year university degrees. Students who completed a Bachelors degree in a foreign country find it difficult to secure employment in the public sector, unless they next obtain a Masters degree, in which case their academic qualifications are considered equivalent to a four-year undergraduate degree conferred by a Greek higher educational institute.