Education in Greece

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Education in Greece
Greece education logo.png
Minister for Education and Religious Affairs, Sport and Culture
Minister Aristeidis Baltas
National education budget (2010)
Budget

12,08 billion (public)

4% of GDP1
General details
Primary languages Greek
Literacy (2014)
Total 98%
Male 99%
Female 97%
Enrollment
Total 1,426,175
Primary 786,025 2
Secondary 360,248 3
Post secondary 276,902 4
The building of the National Library of Greece

The Greek educational system is mainly divided into three levels, 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 Lykeion (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 levels 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. The Greek government is pressured 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, although, from 2011 onwards, there has been noticed a shortage in new textbooks, forcing students to either buy stock books from bookshops, or participate in parent-teacher association-run book trades. 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.

The Greek education system has been criticised over the years by Greek people for various issues, like difficulty levels of the exams during Panhellenic Examinations, number of teaching hours in schools etc.

Primary education[edit]

The public school of Astros, built in 1915.

Elementary schools are called "Dimotiko" (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 (Έκτη δημοτικού): age 11 to 12

A normal school-day starts at 8.15 and finishes from 12.30 to 16.15 depending on the class and the school. The classes last between 30 and 80 minutes. The school year always starts in the second week of September and ends in the second week of June. The students have summer vacation (3 months), Christmas vacation (2 weeks) and Easter vacation (2 weeks). Furthermore, students take usually another four days off in order to celebrate their two national holidays (28/10 and 25/3).

Basic subjects:

  • Modern Greek Language (7 hours/day)
  • Mathematics (5 hours/week)
  • Environmental Studies (2–4 hours/week)
  • Physical Education (4 hours/week)
  • Music (2 hours/week)
  • Art (2 hours/week)
  • Theatrical Studies (1 hour/week)
  • Flexible Zone (1-2 hours/week)
  • English (2–4 hours/week)

(The hours a week for a subject may vary from the teacher who teaches)

Additional Subjects:

  • Physics (3 hours/week and only for years 5 and 6)
  • Geography (2 hours/week and only for years 5 and 6)
  • History (3 hours/week and for years 3-6)
  • Religion (1 hours/week and for years 3-6)
  • Social & Political Studies (1 hours/week and only for years 5 and 6)
  • Second Foreign Language (2 hours/week and only for years 5 and 6)

Grading System:

  • 1st Year: no grades
  • 2nd Year: no grades
  • 3rd Year: A-c (and rarely D)
  • 4th Year: A-c (and rarely D)
  • 5th Year: 1-10
  • 6th Year: 1-10

Enrollment to the next tier of compulsory education, the Gymnasium, is automatic.

Secondary education[edit]

View of the Jewish school, Thessaloniki

Γυμνάσιο (Gymnasium - Middle 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

Starts on September 11 and ends on June 15 to 18. The lessons end in the second week of May so that the students will be able to study for their examinations between May and June. The classes start at 8.15 and end from 13.45 to 14.15 according to the type of school. Classes last from 30 min. to 45 min. and there are breaks of 10 and 5 minutes between them. There are 6 types of gymnasiums in Greece:

  1. General Gymnasium (entering there from the primary school is automatic)
  2. Athletic Gymnasium (to enter this type of school students must pass certain exams on a sport like football, basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, polo, swimming etc.)
  3. Musical Gymnasium (to enter this type of school students must pass certain exams on a musical instrument)
  4. Art Gymnasium
  5. Experimental Gymnasium (to enter this type of schools students must pass certain exams on Maths, Science, Reading Comprehension and Writing [the last two are written as one])
  6. Church Gymnasium

The subjects for:

1. Πρώτη Γυμνασίου/1st Grade of Gymnasium (The curriculum is based on the 2013 curriculum, for the school season 2014-2015):

  • Modern Greek Language (2 hours/week)
  • Modern Greek Literature (2 hours/week)
  • Ancient Greek Language (3 hours/week)
  • Ancient Greek Literature (2 hours/week)
  • Mathematics (4 hours/week) (Algebra 2 hours/week and Geometry 2 hours/week)
  • Physics (1 hour/week)
  • Biology (2 hours/week)
  • Geography (2 hours/week)
  • History (2 hours/week)
  • Religion Education (2 hours/week)
  • English Language (2 hours/week)
  • 2nd Foreign Language: French or German (2 hours/week)
  • Technology (1 hour/week)
  • Computer Studies (1 hour/week)
  • Music (1 hour/week)
  • Art (1 hour/week)
  • Physical Education (2 hours/week)
  • Home Economics (2 hours/week)
  • Project (1 hour/week)

2. Δευτέρα Γυμνασίου/2nd Grade of Gymnasium (The curriculum is based on the 2013 curriculum, for the school season 2014-2015):

  • Modern Greek Language (2 hours/week)
  • Modern Greek Literature (2 hours/week)
  • Ancient Greek Language (3 hours/week)
  • Ancient Greek Literature (2 hours/week)
  • Mathematics (4 hours/week)
  • Physics (2 hours/week)
  • Chemistry (1 hour/week)
  • Biology (1 hour/week)
  • Geography (2 hours/week)
  • History (2 hours/week)
  • Religion Education (2 hours/week)
  • English Language (2 hours/week)
  • 2nd Foreign Language: French or German (2 hours/week)
  • Technology (1 hour/week)
  • Computer Studies (1 hour/week)
  • Music (1 hour/week)
  • Art (1 hour/week)
  • Physical Education (2 hours/week)
  • Home Economics (1 hour/week)
  • Project (1 hour/week)

3. Τρίτη Γυμνασίου/3rd Grade of Gymnasium (The curriculum is based on the 2009 curriculum, for the school season 2014-2015):

  • Religion Education (2 hours/week)
  • Ancient Greek Literature (2 hours/week)
  • Ancient Greek Language (3 hours/week)
  • Modern Greek Language (2 hours/week)
  • Modern Greek Literature (2 hours/week)
  • History (3 hours/week)
  • Social & Political Studies (2 hours/week)
  • English Language (2 hours/week)
  • 2nd Foreign Language: French or German (2 hours/week)
  • Mathematics (4 hours/week)
  • Physics (2 hours/week)
  • Chemistry (1 hour/week)
  • Biology (2 hours/week)
  • Physical Education (2 hours/week)
  • Music (1 hour/week)
  • Art (1 hour/week)
  • Computer Studies (1 hour/week)
  • Scholastic Vocational Guidance (1 hour/week)

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

On September 2013, the Minister of Education, Lifelong learning and Religious affairs Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos officially announced the historic recreation of the General Lyceum. On September 12, 2013 the new system was introduced to the new students of the 1st grade of General Lyceum.

The subjects for:

1. Πρώτη Γενικού Λυκείου/1st Grade of General Lyceum (The curriculum is based on the 2013 curriculum, for the school season 2014-2015):

  • Subjects of General Education
  Ancient Greek  (5 hours/week)
  Modern Greek Language (2 hours/week)
  Modern Greek Literature (2 hours/week)
  Algebra (3 hours/week)
  Geometry (2 hours/week)
  Physics (2 hours/week)
  Chemistry (2 hours/week)
  Biology (2 hours/week)
  History (2 hours/week)
  Political Studies (3 hours/week)
  Religion Education (2 hours/week)
  Project (2 hours/week)
  Foreign Language: English or French or German (2 hours/week)
  Physical Education (2 hours/week)
  • Subjects of selection
  Applications of Computer Science (2 hours/week)
  Geology and Management of Natural Resources (2 hours/week)
  Greek and European Culture (2 hours/week)
  Art Education (2 hours/week)

2. Δευτέρα Γενικού Λυκείου/2nd Grade of General Lyceum (The curriculum is based on the 2013 curriculum, for the school season 2014-2015):

  • Subjects of General Education
 Ancient Greek (2 hour/week)
 Modern Greek Language (2 hours/week)
 Modern Greek Literature (2 hours/week)
 Algebra (3 hours/week)
 Geometry (2 hours/week)
 Physics (2 hours/week)
 Chemistry (2 hours/week)
 Biology (2 hours/week)
 Introduction to the Principles of Science of Computers (1 hour/week)
 History (2 hours/week)
 Philosophy (2 hours/week)
 Political Education (2 hours/week)
 Religion Education (2 hours/week)
 Project (1 hour/week)
 Foreign Language: English or French or German (2 hours/week)
 Physical Education (1 hour/week)

The students can choose 1 of the 2 Orientation Groups: the Humanities or the Sciences

  • Subjects of the Humanities Orientation Group
  Ancient Greek Language and Literature (3 hours/week)
  Basic Principles of Social Science (2 hours/week)
  • Subjects of the Sciences Orientation Group
  Physics (3 hours/week)
  Mathematics (2 hours/week)

3. Τρίτη Γενικού Λυκείου/3rd Grade of General Lyceum (The curriculum is based on the 2013 curriculum, for the school season 2014-2015):

  • Subjects of General Education
  Religion Education (1 hour/week)
  Foreign Language: English or French or German (2 hours/week)
  Physical Education (1 hour/week)
  History (2 hours/week)
  Greek Language (4 hours/week → Modern Greek Language, 2 hours/week Modern Greek Literature)
 

The students can choose 1 of the 3 Orientation Groups: the Humanities, the Economical,Political,Social and Educational Studies and the Science Studies.After choosing one of these Orientations,the students must choose one group of specialization based on the orientiation group they have chosen:

Humanities: → Humanitarian and Law Specialization Group
  • Subjects:
  Ancient Greek Language (10 hours/week)
  Latin (4 hours/week)
  History (6 hours/week)
• Economical,Political,Social and Educational Studies: Economical, Political and Social Specialization Group
or Educational Specialization Group
  • Subjects of the Economical,Political and Social Group
  Mathematics and Statistics (8 hours/week)
  Finance & Administration (6 hours/week)
  Social & Political Sciences (6 hours/week)
  • Subjects of the Educational Specialization Group:
  Mathematics and Statistics (8 hours/week)
  Natural Studies(6 hours/week)
  History (6 hours/week)

Science Studies : Healthcare Science Specialization Group or Science and Technological Specialization Group
  • Subjects of the Healthcare Science Specialization Group
  Biology (8 hours/week)
  Physics (6 hours/week)
  Chemistry (6 hours/week)
  • Subjects of the Science and Technological Specialization Group
 Mathematics (8 hours/week)
 Physics (6 hours/week)
 Chemistry (6 hours/week)
•Panhellenic national examinations:

As mentioned above,the students must take the Panhellenic national Examinations to procceed to the Higher Tertiary education.These exams are held after the students have received their Apolytirion (the main school-leaving certificate for secondary education).The students pass into a specific Higher Educational Institute based on the Orientation and Group chosen.

Private schools[edit]

Arsakeio School of Athens, 1867
The Danish Institute of Athens

There is a wide range of private schools in Greece. 6% of students who attend compulsory education (the highest percent in the European Union) study in Private Schools. Tuition fees start from €1,500 to €13,000 according to the school and the year.

School elections[edit]

From the fifth year of the primary school to the third year of Lyceum elections are held.

Elections in primary schools

They are held every September, all the students are obliged to elect 2 presidiums for each class who "rule" until January when the other one succeeds the first. The role of these presidiums is to primp the classrooms for the national holidays and for Christmas. Furthermore, they transfer the complaints of each student to the school authorities.

There are 4 positions:

  • The President
  • The Vice-President
  • The General Secretary
  • The Treasurer

Elections in Gymnasiums and Lyceums

They are held every September and they are also divided in 2 parts.

In the 1st part every student elects the Presidium of his/her class.

The Class Presidium has 5 members:

  • The President
  • The General Secretary
  • The Treasurer
  • The 1st Member
  • The 2nd Member

In the second part students elect a School Council which has 15 members and represents the students. Its role is extremely important in every school because the School Council takes significant decisions for all the students.

The School Council has 15 members:

  • The School President
  • The Vice-President
  • The Treasurer
  • Another 12 Members

Tertiary education in Greece[edit]

View of the Ionian Academy, Corfu
Faculty of Education of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
  • Ανώτατα Εκπαιδευτικά Ιδρύματα - Α.E.I. (Higher Educational Institutes)

Higher Educational Institutes are consisted of two parallel sectors: the Universities and the Technological Educational Institutes (T.E.I.). In addition, colleges collaborating with foreign universities can offer undergraduate and postgraduate UK foreign programmes of study in Greece, under the proper registration with the Greek Ministry of Education. Usually, these programmes are provided following franchise or validation agreements with universities established in other European Union countries, primarily in the UK, leading to degrees which are awarded directly by those universities. In some cases these institutions are wholly owned and operated branch campuses of foreign institutions, as in the case of the University of Indianapolis, Athens Campus. List of universities in Greece

According to the European University Association, austerity measures imposed after the 2010 bailout halved public funding for higher education in real terms between 2009 and 2014; Greece now spends an average of €545 per student.[1] Spending cuts were such that eight Greek universities, including the University of Athens, had to close down temporarily in fall 2013 because they lacked the staff to keep the university running.[2]

Private education[edit]

All levels are overseen by the Ministry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs, which exercises centralised control over public schools, by prescribing the curriculum, appointing staff, and controlling funding. The ministry exercises a supervisory mandate over private schools. 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 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. The Greek government is pressured 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, although, from 2011 onwards, there has been noticed a shortage in new textbooks, forcing students to either buy stock books from bookshops, or participate in parent-teacher association-run book trades.

There are also a number of private tutors schools, colleges and universities operating alongside the state education and providing supplementary tuition. These parallel schools, called Frontistirio (Greek: φροντιστήριο) provide foreign-language tuition, supplementary lessons for weak students, as well as exam preparation 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.

Vocational education and training[edit]

Obsolete institutions[edit]

  • Τεχνικό Επαγγελματικό Εκπαιδευτήριο, ΤΕΕ (Techniko Epagelmatiko Ekpedeftirio - Technical Professional/Vocational School, TEE)
  • Τεχνικό Επαγγελματικό Λύκειο, ΤΕΛ (Techniko Epagelmatiko Lykeio - Technical Professional/Vocational Lyceum, TEL)
  • Τεχνική Επαγγελματική Σχολή, ΤΕΣ (Techniki Epagelmatiki Scholi - Technical Professional/Vocational School, TES)
  • Ενιαίο Πολυκλαδικό Λύκειο, ΕΠΛ (Eniaio Polykladiko Lykeio - Unified Multidisciplinary Lyceum, EPL)

Current issues[edit]

The foremost topic of debate in recent years has been recognition of the private universities, which are forbidden by the 1975 constitution. Numerous private institutions, which are often franchises of European and American universities, such as State University of New York, but also non-profit accredited institutions or wholly owned and operated branch campuses of foreign universities, such as the University of Indianapolis - Athens Campus, 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 Bachelor's degree in a foreign country find it difficult to secure employment in the public sector, unless they next obtain a Master's degree, in which case their academic qualifications are considered equivalent to a four-year undergraduate degree conferred by a Greek higher educational institute.

Following pressure from the EU member states, within the framework of the Bologna Process, Greece is revising its classification of degrees to bring it in line with the framework defined in the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System/ECTS. (It is usually the goal to accomplish a bachelor degree within 3 years and a master degree within 2 years.)

Criticism of the System[edit]

There can be heard and seen lots of facts that show people's disappointment by the Greek Education System.

Many students and parents claim that Greek schools' role is not to improve their knowledge and abilities.

In Greece, students often have complaints about the teaching and grading system of their teachers. There are heard occasions, for example, of teachers who give lower/higher marks to a student than they should have, based on their personal effort and achievements at the lesson. The Education System is believed to follow a too 'democratic' view on such incidents, ignoring such issues.

Another important issue which is causing disturbance in many Greek families is the existence of paid private classes named frontistiria (φροντιστήρια) whose attendance by the Greek students has become a necessity in order for them to be able to achieve high grades and succeed in their exams. This is a phenomenon noticed especially as the student approaches the 3rd grade of upper high school because of the high difficulty of the Panhellenic Examinations and has been an object of criticism due to the high fees that most Greek families are called to pay, thus deviating from the concept of a free and accessible from everyone education.[3] Furthermore, in 2012 the Greek government introduced a regulation that changed the regime which the selection of the students who wished to be registered in the Experimental Schools was done with. Before 2012, those students were picked from a lottery, whereas the regulation established a system of entrance exams for Experimental Schools which occurred in the 1st grade of lower and upper high school that the students had to pass in order to be selected. This incident reinforced the presence of frontistiria, as some parents started sending their children there, even while at primary-age, so as to prepare them for the entrance exams. The regulation also renamed the Experimental Schools to Exemplar Experimental Schools.

In addition, there have been repeatedly heard protests about the Panhellenic Examinations, such as:

'A little number of examining tests will judge the students' rest of life (in their 3rd grade education).'
'Modern Greek lesson's grading system is subjective and students may get different mark than they should.'
'Exams are often made each year harder than those of the previous year.'

See also[edit]

  • Education Research Centre - Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, The Greek Education System. Facts and Figures (Supervision: Prof. V. Koulaidis. Compiled by C. Papakyriakopoulos, A. Patouna, A. Katsis & S. Georgiadou), Athens, 2003. (ISBN 960-541-106-7)
    • (Greek) Κέντρο Εκπαιδευτικής Έρευνας, Το Ελληνικό Εκπαιδευτικό Σύστημα Συνοπτική εικόνα σε αριθμούς, Αθήνα, 2003. (ISBN 960-541-108-3) [1] (accessed June 1, 2006)
  • Greek Educational System: The Implementation of the ICT in the Greek Curriculum in Compulsory Education, IACM/FORTH, November 2003 [2]
  • National report of Greece 2009 - Bologna Process: http://www.ond.vlaanderen.be/hogeronderwijs/bologna/links/Greece.htm

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jack Grove (January 22, 2015). "Crowded Houses: Are EU Students Feeling the Squeeze?". Times Higher Education. 
  2. ^ Helena Smith (September 25, 2013). "Austerity measures push Greek universities to point of collapse". The Guardian. 
  3. ^ Marseilles, Makki. "GREECE: An expensive free education". University World News. 

External links[edit]