Education in Greece

By C. Minos and Dr. T. Karayannis of Eurotechniki K.E.K., Volos, GREECE, 1997

Contribution to the EDUVINET "Living Conditions of EU Citizen" subject


From the first written creations of Greek civilization it is profound the urge of Greek people for learning , fostering of his intellectual abilities.
Objective of the Homeric man is the constant effort for the whole-side progress such as «to be always the first and remain the first».
Iones philosophers put as a center of their very first searching human and his problems, confirming for one more time the special characteristic of Greek man for the broadening of his spiritual horizons.
Boundary stone for the international civilization and especially for the education is the 4th and 5th A.C century of classic Greece.
Ancient Greek people took more care in finding the right ways and methods for the obtainance of the high aim, the promotion of their spiritual abilities.


The education of children in ancient Sparta undertook the state from their seven(7) years . They lived in groups (pods) and they had as a leader the «Paidonomo». Relatively to the descent was the practice of the body and the fostering military valor. On the other hand, reading, writing, mates, music and dance were taught. The training education of girls was relative and was taking place in private places.


The «good and honest» civil, the educated and developed spiritually, aesthetically, morally and physically, was the aim of the state of Athens. Training in ancient Athens was free and responsible for this were the parents of each child. Schools were private. But they were obliged to observe some rules which controlled their function. The spirit of education was correspondent to the tradition and the ideals of the city.
From the 5th century started to be founded in Athens gymnaseums, young people had the ability to practice simultaneously body and mind.
The first stage of education was the pro-primary and school age. The first one was undertaken by mother or wet-nurse and aimed at the fostering of the abilities of the child and at its preparation to accept the school education which usually started in seven years. «Paidagogos», social worker, was escorting the child to the «Didaskalio». From his first teacher the little Athenian was learning studying, spelling, writing, math's. Later was undertaken by the «Guitarist» to access him into the art of music (lessons of lyra, pipe and song with accompaniment of lyra).
Since the child obtained the elementary education, came in touch with the heroic and didactic poetry (Homer and Isiodos) and also lyrics. He was also taught dance, painting, handicraft and geometry. «Paidotribis» took care of the body practice of students in «Palaistra» (pentathlon and pancratium). Teaching in schools was six hours. Girls were educated at home.
After they had been 14, teenagers could attend the higher education in public gymnaseums and in philosophical or oratory schools (Academy of Platon, Walking of Aristotelis, oratory schools Isocratis and others), which started to be founded from the 5th century under the influence of teaching of sophists, philosophers and orators. In that place were also taught astronomy, math's and grammar. A similar form had the educational system of most Greek cities of that period.
In the Hellenistic times (3rd and 2nd century) did not appear many changes in the educational stage. But the content of the education was widened with new sciences. These methods also and the means of teaching were modernized.


The orthodox religion and the Greek spiritual inheritance are the characteristic elements of civilization and of education of Byzantio. Church played main role in the place of education, by undertaking almost throughout, not only its organization, its stalking and its function but also its economical subvention. To this difficult task the parish commissions usually accepted the co-operation of the communities.
The ELEMENTARY EDUCATION, which was not compulsory, started from the seventh year of the child and lasted 3 years. The « holly letters», the way they were named in that stage, gave the ability to the little pupil to come for first time in contact with religious texts (Old and New testament, Psalter and others) and to learn with their help the alphabet, spelling, reading and writing. Teaching was completed with the Byzantine music, religious and history. Lessons were taught by priests and mainly monks, in places which were granted by churches or monasteries. Private teacher who was teaching at home was known as «Paidagogos».
The SECONDARY EDUCATION started from the 10th year of the pupils age and lasted 4 to 5 years. The content of the education was enriched by the «letters of Greek» by the study of ancient Greek language and literature. Other lessons were history, physics, music, geometry, astronomy and notation. The students attended the teaching of special teachers, orators, philosophers, grammarians and notations in schools who functioned under the observance of Church in many areas of the empire.
The HIGHEST EDUCATION was the very first concern of the state. Theodosios the 2nd founded in 425 the University of Constantinoupolis were lessons as ancient Greek language and literature, latinics, oratory, philosophy and law were taught. Universities and highest schools were founded and worked under the concern of the state in Alexandria, Beirut, Athens, Salonica, Nikaia and of course in Constantinoupolis as in other countries of the empire. New sciences such as medicine and math's, completed in stages the existent taught (sciences). The aim of the education helped apart from the teachers and the rich libraries, public, private and of monasteries such as the library of patriarch Fotios. Worthwhile is the offer of monks to the section of copying scripts of ancient Greek writers, some of these saved thanks to their own initiative.
It's a common confirmation that the Byzantine education, contributed essentially not only to the conformation of the special character of Byzantine civilization but to the conservation and spreading of the Christians and Hellenic humanistic education. That period has to show significant persons which have become teachers of that education such as the holly fathers of the Orthodox Christians Church.



The objective of the secondary education is to contribute to the whole side, harmonic and balanced development of the intellectual and psychosomatic forces of the students, such as, apart from the sex and their descent to have the ability to be developed in complete personalities and live creatively.


The secondary education is being provided in two terms: the first term is being covered by the gymnaseums and the second one is being covered by the general, classic, ecclesiastical, technical vovational, eniaia policladica lyceums and by the technical vocational schools.


The general aim of gymnaseum is to push forward within the spirit of the general objective of education, the whole side development of the students in relation to the abilities they have in that age, and the corresponding demands of life.
Special objectives of gymnaseum: more specific, gymnaseum helps the students:

Attendance in gymnaseum is 3 years and includes A, B, C. In A class are registered graduates of the primary school without exams. To the students who graduate, a school leaving-certificate is given.
Types of gymnaseums: Gymnaseums are distinguished in daily ones and evening ones. In evening gymnaseums working students are accepted since they are 14 years old. Gymnaseums are of general guidance for all their classes. But recently, athletic and music gymnaseums have been founded in certain cities of the country.
The students in every class cannot be more than 30. Classes with more than 30 students are divided into smaller classes.


Lyceum aims at the completion of objectives in education.

Especially helps the students:

Types of Lyceums:

Lyceums work as : general, classic, technical vovational, eniaia policladica, whilst recently Music and Athletic Lyceums are being founded in certain cities of the country. In evening schools, working students attend lessons. The attendance in daily Lyceums is 3 years and includes A, B and C classes and in evening schools 4 years and includes A, B, C and D. In A class graduates of gymnaseum are registered without exams.

  1. General Lyceum is of theoretical guidance.
  2. The tecnico-epaggelmatico Lyceum additionally aims at transmitting to the students the necessary technical or other professional knowledge and to develop their dexterities, so as after their graduation to be able to be occupied with success in a certain technical of professional branch. Students of technical vovational Lyceums can be trained in their profession.
  3. The eniaio polycladico lyceum assures the organic connection of general and technical-professional training and provides chances to all the students for the symmetry development of their abilities and the fostering of their interests and dexterities for their participation to the production and development of the country. Number of students per class or section. Students in every class or section of Lyceum cannot be over 35, while in bunches of preparative lessons in C class cannot be over 30. These bunches prepare students for University. Classes with more students than 35 or 30 correspondingly are divided into smaller classes.

1st 2nd 3rd (*)
MATHS 5 or 4 5 4 or 8
PHYSICS 3 3 - or 5
CHEMISTRY 1 2 1 or 3
BIOLOGY - 1 - or 2
PHILOSOPHY 1 - - or 2
LATINICS - - - or 1
SOCIOLOGY - - - or 1

(*) Lessons are corresponded to bunches.


The Institutes of Professional Training, public or private are not included in the educational system and in the educational degree.
The objective of the I.P.T is to provide every kind of professional training, beginning or completed one, and to assure the students of relative qualifications, with the teaching of scientific, technical, professional and practical knowledge and the fostering of relative dexterities, such as to be easier their professional accession to the society and to assure their adjustment in the changing needs of the productive procedure.

Titles and professional rights

1.) Certificate of professional training, level 1, after training until two semesters. In these classes adults graduates of gymnaseum can be registered.

2.) Degree of professional education and training, level 2, which is provided to the graduates of technical-vocational schools.

3.) Degree of professional training, level 3, which is provided to graduates of technica - epaggelmatica lyceums, or to graduates of eniaia polycladica lyceums.

4.) Diploma of professional training, level of second-grade of professional training.

4.a) Degree of specialization in sections of eniaio polycladico lyceum.

4.b) Degree of technica - epaggelmatica lyceums.

4.c) Certificate of studies of eniaia polycladica lyceums or certificate of technical vovational lyceums for students who attended lessons of bunch in C' class.

4.d) Certificate of studies of general lyceum or certificate of eniaia polycladica lyceums for students who attended lessons of bunch in C' class.

4.e) Degree of professional education and training level 2, with conditions and rules which will be determined depending on the specialization.


Apart from the general objectives of the primary and secondary education, specific objective of the technical - vocational schools is the transmittance of technical and professional knowledge and the fostering of dexterities such as the graduate to be able to practice with success a certain profession and to contribute to the quantity and quality development of the production.
In parallel, it is aimed the understanding and the enrichment of the general education of the students.

Schools are distinguished in daily and evening.

Attendance in daily schools lasts until two years and in the evening ones prolongs until one year. If programs of practice in the profession are fit, attendance continues another one year, independently of the functioning of the school as daily or evening.
After graduation students can continue their studies by registering in the second year of technical-vocational schools.

In the first year can be registered without exams: students with certificate of studies-qualified of lower technical-vocational school, or school of learning (Organization of occupying force).- students of lyceums general or technical-vocational training.- qualified of any kind of section of these schools in any kind of section for obtainance of another degree.- graduate students of general, technical vocational lyceums who haven't got a certificate of studies or a degree because they haven't passed the class for one or more lessons.

In the second year can be registered without exams: qualified of technical-vocational schools in the same section from which they have taken their degree but with different course.-qualified of technical vocational lyceums for the obtainance of degree of different course which does not exist as a department in the relative section of technical vovational lyceums.


Engineering: engines of internal burning, engine tools, chill installation, plumbers and thermal installation, car engines weldment and metal constructions and mechanic composers of aircraft.

Electricians: internal electrician installation, electrical system of cars.

Electronics: radio, automatism of TV, computers.

Construction of buildings: activities of armed and unarmed puddle, wood-working of buildings.

Farmers: gardening of rural engines.

Cutting and sewing of domestic science: cutting and sewing of clothes.

Cabinet maker: furniture.

Clerks and shop assistants: shop assistant, workers of computers and punching engines, assistants in pharmacies.

Silversmithing and horology: silversmith and horology.

Hairdressing: hairdressing and tinting of hair.

Extractives: extraction.

Assistants of textile: assistant of spinner, assistant of weaver, assistant of dyer.

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