- Early childhood care and education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
- Primary and secondary education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
- Tertiary education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
The Law 682/1977 on Private Schools of General Education and Boarding Schools (as amended in 2020) and the Law 2545/1940 on Private Schools, Tutorial Centers, and Boarding Schools (as amended in 2020) which govern non-state education from pre-primary to secondary level define “private schools of general education” as schools which are “equivalent to public schools of general education which are not owned by the state, but by legal or natural persons”. Moreover, Law 1566/1985, on the structure and operation of primary and secondary public education, also applies to private schools and their teaching staff. The Law 4862/1931 on Foreign Schools (as amended in 2020) defines foreign schools as “private schools of all educational content which were either established by a non-Greek citizen or by a legal person, association or organization which is not Greek or not based in Greece, or belong to such natural or legal person”. At higher education level, the Law 3696/2008 on the Establishment and Operation of Colleges and other Provisions (as amended in 2020) defines “colleges” as “providers of non-formal post-secondary education and training oﬀering studies exclusively based on validation agreements and franchising with higher education institutions abroad, recognized by the competent authorities of the country they are domiciled”. The law 3432/2006 (Government Gazette 14 Α'/2006) on the Structure and Function of Ecclesiastical Education focuses on the structure and aim of Ecclesiastical Education in Greece, Ecclesiastical Academies, Upper Secondary Ecclesiastical Education and Ecclesiastical Education. Finally, the Constitution of Greece 1975 (as amended in 2008) refers to “educational institutions which are not owned by the state” (Article 16:8).
In Greece, most education (95% of schools and enrolments) at primary/dimotiko (6 years, ages 6 – 11), lower secondary/gymnasio (3 years, ages 12 – 14) and upper secondary/lykeio (3 years, ages 15 – 17) level is provided by the state. According to the Constitution of Greece 1975 (as amended in 2008), education is free for all Greeks at state educational institutions of all education levels (including pre-primary and higher education) and compulsory for 11 years from pre-primary (2 years, ages 4 – 5) to lower secondary level.
In addition to mainstream state schools, the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs implements and supports special education programs and alternative education structures that aim to meet the needs of students with different educational, social and cultural backgrounds. These include model and experimental schools (supporting the pilot implementation of educational innovations on a random sample of the student population), schools of special education and training (catering to children with special educational needs), minority schools (which include Muslim madrasas exclusively serving the demarcated Muslim minority of Thrace), intercultural schools (catering to immigrant children), music schools, art schools, and the School of European Education in Crete (serving children of European Union, international organizations, and diplomatic mission personnel). There are also ecclesiastical (church) secondary education units (training Clergy and the laymen of the Greek Orthodox Church) and Reception Structures for the Education of Refugees (DYEP) (which are also educated in state primary and secondary education units). All the aforementioned education units are owned and managed by the Greek state.
Non-state managed, state schools
No information was found.
Non-state funded, state schools
No information was found.
Independent, non-state schools
Private schools (which are categorized into Greek schools and international schools) are independent non-state schools which are established, owned, and managed by natural persons, legal persons, associations of persons, or legal entities under public law (Greek citizens in Greek schools and non-Greek citizens in international schools) on either a profit-making or non-profit-making basis. These schools are fully privately funded and charge tuition fees for attendance. Greek private schools follow the national curriculum (similar to state schools) while private international schools may follow a foreign curriculum with the approval of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, with schools classified according to the curriculum followed. International schools are established as part of bilateral educational agreements signed between Greece and other states, with the existence of a transnational agreement not substituting an operational license. Specifically, according to the law 4186/2013, private international schools are classified into 1) schools following a foreign curriculum (catering primarily to foreign nationals), 2) schools following the Greek curriculum (with emphasis on foreign language teaching and additional subjects) and 3) schools following both the Greek and foreign curriculum. All international schools in Greece (irrespective of their type) are required to teach specific compulsory Greek subjects according to the Greek curriculum and the certificates awarded are considered equivalent to certificates in state schools. In 2021, there were 30 international schools (9%) in Greece compared to 318 Greek private schools (91%). A few international schools are run by Christian religious foundations.
Due to a large number of refugee children on Greek islands having limited access to formal education, local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and UN agencies (such as the UNHRC and UNICEF) deliver non-formal education programs to approximately 1,472 refugee students as of October 2019. These programs rely almost exclusively on private funding (from UN agencies and private donors) and offer between 4 to 18 hours of instruction per week (compared to 30 hours of instruction offered to refugees in state schools). Non-formal education programs are not aligned with the Greek curriculum and many centers rely on volunteers or recent graduates for teaching. As the intention of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs is to integrate all refugee children into the Greek educational system, programs have been developed (such as the UNHRC Bridging Education Program) to prepare refugee children for integration into the Greek formal education system once they transition to the mainland.
State-funded (government-aided), non-state schools
According to the Law 682/1977 on Private Schools of General Education and Boarding Schools (as amended in 2020), private schools established as non-profit-making entities may be entitled to grants from the state, but no such specific government-aided schools were found.
Contracted, non-state schools
No information was found.
In Greece, Article 2, §3 of the Education Law 1566/1985 on the structure and function of primary and secondary education mandates attendance in primary and secondary schools unless "students' education becomes impossible due to serious short-term or chronic problems that do not allow them to move”. Section 4 of art. 32 states that in exceptional cases, education can occur in the home with direct supervision and materials from the school (Article 32, Section 4). Homeschooling is therefore legal for primary and secondary education students only in the case of disability and/or special educational needs or severe short-term or chronic health problems (which do not allow the student to attend school). Parents are required to obtain an authorization from the Directorate of Primary and Secondary Education (under the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs) for a child to be home-schooled, which may only be provided by teachers who are qualified in special needs education.
Due to the nation-wide school closures and learning disruption that resulted from the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs implemented 3 distance learning methods for learning continuity during the pandemic which included synchronous education (live lessons on online platforms), asynchronous education (education material uploaded on websites and platforms), and educational television programs for primary school students. Moreover, digital learning resources (such as e-books, videos, and exercise papers) were made accessible to students.
Market contracted (Voucher schools)
No information was found.
No information was found.
The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs is responsible for the governance and regulation of both state and non-state education from pre-primary to higher education level in Greece, through separate General Secretariats for each education level. The General Secretariat for Primary, Secondary and Special Education supervises pre-primary, primary and secondary education, with the Independent Directorate for Private Education being specifically responsible for all private education. The General Secretariat for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth is responsible for colleges (all private), while non-state early childhood education which caters to children under the age of 4 is the responsibility of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. The Institute of Educational Policy (IEP) is a private legal entity that operates as an executive body supervised by the Minister of Education. IEP supports the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs on scientific research and on issues related to primary and secondary education, the transition from secondary to tertiary education, as well as the on-going support for the deployment of the educational policy.
The supervision and administration of state and private schools from pre-primary to secondary level is decentralized through Regional Education Directorates (the structure of which was initially outlined in the framework of Law 2986/2002 and reinforced in Law 4547/2018). Regional Education Directorates oversee the establishment, registration, and quality assurance of state and private schools within their jurisdiction (acting as a link between regional education services and central education authorities). The administration and governance of higher education remains centralized under the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs.
According to the law 3432/2006, ecclesiastical schools are educational units of the Orthodox Church in Greece and are also supervised by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs.
Vision: According to the Constitution of Greece 1975 (as amended in 2008), the law determines the terms and conditions for the approval of the establishment and operation and educational institutions which are not owned by the state, including provisions for their monitoring and staff service conditions (Article 16:8). Private schools are specifically regulated by the Law 682/1977 on Private Schools of General Education and Boarding Schools (as amended in 2020) and the Law 2545/1940 on Private Schools, Tutorial Centers, and Boarding Schools (as amended in 2020), while additionally being included in several legal frameworks that apply to state schools. International schools are regulated separately by the Law 4862/1931 on Foreign Schools (as amended in 2020). While the state welcomes the establishment of private educational institutions from early childhood to secondary level (within the legal parameters set by law), the establishment of private universities is prohibited in Greece, with private actors only allowed to establish non-formal post-secondary education and training institutions known as “colleges” under the conditions set in the Law 3696/2008 on the Establishment and Operation of Colleges and other Provisions (as amended in 2020). All private education (with the exception of early childhood education centres) is under the authority of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs.
In the 2020 Bill on the Modernization of Private Education and Other Urgent Provisions published by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, the government planned to increase the autonomy and flexibility of the organization and operation of private schools, while limiting state intervention in the sector.
In Greece, early childhood care and education (ECCE) services are classified into municipal (state) infant/childcare centres (under the Ministry of Interior), private infant/childcare settings (under the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs), and state or private pre-primary schools (under the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs). Infant/childcare centres cater to children under the age of 4, while pre-primary schools (or preschools) cater to children aged 4 – 5. Most services at both levels are provided by the state, with state services accounting for 60% of enrolments at infant/childcare centers, and 87% of centers at pre-primary level. Under the Law 4521/2018 (which has been replaced by Article 34 of the Law 4704/2020), the 2 years of pre-primary education (which have been included in primary education) were made compulsory from the 2018-2019 academic year (which is being implemented gradually within a three-year period).
See Multi-level regulations for information on preschools, which are regulated by the Law 682/1977 on Private Schools of General Education and Boarding Schools (as amended in 2020) and the Law 2545/1940 on Private Schools, Tutorial Centers, and Boarding Schools (as amended in 2020) under the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs (similar to private primary/secondary schools).
Registration and approval: Αccording to the Joint Ministerial Decision D22/11828/293/4-4-2017 on the Defining Conditions for the Establishment and Operation of Care Units, Preschool Education and Training (Nursery - Children - Nursery Schools, Infant and Toddler Employment Units) by Private Law, for-profit and non-profit organizations, private infant/childcare centres are required to be registered, by submitting an application to the relevant municipal authority under the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Applicants can be natural or legal persons that have not been convicted of any criminal offence, while all applications must be accompanied by details on the premises (that meet the minimum infrastructure standards and sanitary conditions), number of children (in accordance with the service provided), and any required permits. In the case where a centre is established by a commercial company, the provider must additionally submit their articles of association. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Licence: If the application and applicant meets the minimum standards to the satisfaction of the municipal authority, a licence is issued by the mayor of the municipality. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Profit-making: Private infant/childcare centres can be established as for-profit or non-profit entities, with provisions included for the establishment of commercial companies. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Taxes and subsidies: The government may provide financial assistance to private infant/childcare centres that are established by non-profit entities (such as recognized charities, church institutions, or social organizations) if the provider does not have the means to cover the expenses relating to the required infrastructure. According to the Law 2345/1995, it is up to the government’s discretion (depending on the level of deficiencies and services provided) whether to provide financial assistance or order the closure of the centre. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Curriculum and education standards: All private infant/childcare centres must carry out daily programs aimed at children’s education, care, and entertainment which are supervised by the municipal authorities. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Teaching profession: While private infant/childcare centres can recruit their own teachers or caregivers, the Joint Ministerial Decision D22/11828/293/4-4-2017 regulates the qualifications required (which must additionally be approved by the municipal authority), as well as child-caregiver ratios according to the service provided. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Fee-setting: According to the Law 2082/1992 on the Reorganization of Social Welfare and Introduction of New Institutions of Social Protection, the financial operation and monthly fees charged in infant/childcare centres may be regulated by the government. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Admission selection and processes: The admission of children in state and private infant/childcare centres may be regulated by the government in regard to the admission age and enrolment (which cannot exceed the initial capacity by 10%). In municipal services, priority in admission selection is given to children of working mothers, unemployed or disadvantaged families, and children in need of special care, but there is no such requirement for private services. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Policies for vulnerable groups: The government provides several programs (such as creative occupation of children with disabilities) to facilitate access to employment for benefiting mothers (selected based on working, family, and economic criteria) and provide care services to children. In 2020, the government introduced state-funded vouchers to attend state or private infant/childcare centres of parents’ choice, with a plan to increase childcare enrolment by 16% (compared to 2019). Approximately 150,000 vouchers were provided to unemployed and working mothers in the private sector and 15,000 vouchers to families with higher income (including mothers working in the public sector). Asylum seekers, recognized refugees, or beneficiaries of subsidiary protection with children aged between 2 and a half and 5 years may also request a place in a childcare centre which are run by municipalities or privately funded. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Reporting requirements: The director of all private infant/childcare centers is required to submit a list of teachers and children attending the centre every 6 months to the municipal authority, while all services must keep up-to-date records of the number of children, their health information, attendance books, and any other records deemed necessary by the Minister of Health. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Inspection: The licence of a private infant/childcare centre is reviewed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs under certain conditions, which include the change in building infrastructure, ownership, internal regulations, operating hours, or maximum number of children attending. Moreover, according to the Law 2082/1992 on the Reorganization of Social Welfare and Introduction of New Institutions of Social Protection, all infant/childcare centres (irrespective of ownership) are subject to inspections and evaluations from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs to determine whether they maintain compliance with the relevant regulations. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Child assessment: While there is no formal assessment for children under the age of 4, teaching staff in infant/childcare centres are expected to inform parents on the development of the child once a month. In pre-primary schools, children are systematically monitored during the academic year through initial or diagnostic assessment (identifying the child’s levels of knowledge and interest), formative or gradual assessment (monitoring the progress of the child), and final and overall assessment (which assesses the achievement of the program aims). Monitoring takes place through observation, dialogue, and keeping an individual portfolio of all children. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Sanctions: If any infant/childcare center is found to be operating without a valid licence, the municipal authority may order the closure of the center, with the person responsible being subject upon conviction to imprisonment for at least a year (Law 2082/1992; Law 2345/1995). For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Registration and approval: See Multi-level regulations.
Licence: See Multi-level regulations.
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH): All private schools are required to meet strict infrastructure requirements (with a building certification and fire protection standards) to be licensed, with the EOPPEP being responsible for their approval (Law 4093/2012, paragraph Θ). Private schools, tutorial centers and colleges are required have one toilet per 30 teachers.
Profit-making: See Multi-level regulations.
Taxes and subsidies: See Multi-level regulations.
Curriculum and education standards: See Multi-level regulations.
Textbooks and learning materials: International schools must only use textbooks that have been approved by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, with schools prohibited from using books that are offensive towards the Greek nation, its people, or the Greek Orthodox religion (Law 4862/1931). All private schools (Greek and international) are prohibited from selling books and stationery to students.
Teaching profession: See Multi-level regulations.
Other safety measures and COVID-19: No information was found.
Fee-setting: See Multi-level regulations.
Admission selection and processes: See Multi-level regulations.
Policies for vulnerable groups: Law 3879/2010 established Educational Priority Zones (ZEP) to accommodate reception classes for primary and secondary students who do not hold the required level of attainment in Greek (Roma, foreign, repatriate, refugee, vulnerable group students) with the aim to integrate them into the Greek educational system. However, this only applies to schools within the state school system and not to private schools. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
School board: Every private school must establish a Parent’s Association and Teacher’s Association (which make up the School Council). At secondary level, 3 members of the Student Council must participate in the School Council (Law 682/1977; Law 1566/1985).
Reporting requirements: See Multi-level regulations.
School inspection: See Multi-level regulations.
Student assessment: See Multi-level regulations.
Diplomas and degrees: Private schools (Greek and international) follow the organization of state schools and award certificates that are equivalent to state school certificates. The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs determines the type of diplomas to be issued for all schools. According to the Law 4763/2020, the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) was established based on the Recommendation of the European Parliament for the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) for Lifelong Learning. The NQF aims to enhance the readability and comparability of Greek titles and qualifications, in the context of improving the Greek educational system at all education levels and types of schools, with the National Agency for the Accreditation of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP) acting as the reference point for the EQF, quality assurance and national coordination.
Sanctions: See Multi-level regulations.
In Greece, there are no private universities, with the establishment of higher education institutions by private individuals prohibited by law in the art. 16 of the Constitution of Greece 1975 (as amended in 2008). Higher education is provided only by institutions that are legal entities under public law with full self-administration whose operations are governed by the laws 4009/2011 and 4485/2017, as amended and in force. The establishment of higher education institutions by individuals is prohibited.
As part of the state higher education system, there are also Higher Ecclesiastical Academies (Athens, Thessaloniki, Vella-Ioannina and Heraklion-Crete) which train executives of the Orthodox Church in Greece. These institutions are part of the Greek tertiary state education system and award degrees equal to those of other higher education institutions (Law 3432/2006).
Private provision at post-secondary education level comes in the form of 35 private colleges which are providers of non-formal post-secondary education and training oﬀering studies exclusively based on validation agreements and franchising with higher education institutions abroad. These institutions are recognized by the competent authorities of the country they are domiciled, with studies leading to a bachelor’s degree or post-graduate title. Colleges are regulated separately from higher education institutions through the Law 3696/2008 on the Establishment and Operation of Colleges and other Provisions (as amended in 2020).
Registration and approval: According to the Law 3696/2008 on the Establishment and Operation of Colleges and other Provisions (as amended in 2020), colleges can be established by natural persons, legal persons, associations of persons, or legal persons under public law by submitting an application to the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs for approval. All applications must be accompanied by criminal records, list of programs, certification of citizenship and residency (with applicants required to have permanent residency within an EU-Member-State), staff qualifications, management structure, internal regulations, infrastructure details (which must meet minimum standards), and any other documents listed in the Ministerial Decision 10131/ΙΑ/2012 and the Law 4093/2012 (paragraph Θ). The compliance to buildings requirements is subject to the opinion of the National Organization for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP), as stipulated in the Law 4093/2012.
Licence: If the Minister is satisfied that the minimum standards have been met (which includes inspection), the provider is issued a licence upon recommendation from the National Organization for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance(-EOPPEP-) which remains valid for 3 years. Decisions about granting the college licenses are published in the government gazette.
Profit-making: Profit-making is not regulated for colleges, allowing the latter to be for profit entities.
Taxes and subsidies: Colleges do not receive subsidies from the state but are independently funded through fees and donations.
Curriculum and education standards: Colleges deliver study programs that are based on validation and franchising agreements with higher education institutions located abroad and recognized by the respective authorities of their country. At master’s level, these programs must be accredited by international accreditation organizations and approved by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. If a college is offering programs as part of a partnership with a foreign educational institution, these programs must be pre-approved by the respective institution and a national quality assurance authority (Law 3696/2008).
Teaching profession: Teachers employed in colleges must hold a master’s degree or PhD from a higher education institution in Greece or abroad, with the exception of teachers of certain vocational subjects that may be more practical (that must not exceed 5% of the total teaching staff). In colleges that are formed as part of a partnership with foreign educational institutions abroad, the staff qualifications must be equivalent to the ones required to be employed in the partner institution and follow the student-staff ratio of the partner institution. All teachers must be registered under the Register of Post-Secondary Education and Training Providers kept by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs.
Fee-setting: Colleges are responsible for setting their own tuition fees.
Admission selection and processes: The admission process of colleges is not regulated by law. Colleges operate on the basis of their internal regulations, which include each institution’s admission rules and processes, in addition to any available support and scholarships (that can be determined individually by each insititution).
Board: The governance structure of colleges must be submitted and approved upon registration. All colleges must have a Director with a university title, which is appointed by the owner.
Reporting requirements: All colleges are required to keep records of their teaching staff and students (according to program), which must be made available to state authorities to evaluate and submitted to the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs each year.
Inspection: The Law 3696/2008 established the College Evaluation and Audit Committee to be responsible for the evaluation of colleges. Moreover, the General Secretary for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth, in cooperation with EOPPEP, undertakes regular or ad hoc checking of colleges through a three-member committee. The results of the check are then published on the web page of the General Secretary as part of a special report.
Assessment: The General Secretariat for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth is responsible for setting standards on student assessments in colleges.
Diplomas and degrees: Colleges can award bachelor or master’s degrees, as long as the study programmes have accreditation by international accreditation organisations. The degrees, awards, and certifications awarded in colleges are only deemed equivalent to the degrees of the state higher education institutions within the formal education system under certain conditions. While the Law 4093/2012 (paragraph Θ) states that “the diplomas and degrees, as well as the study certifications issued by colleges are not equivalent to the titles issued within the Greek formal education system”, the Law 4763/2020 passed in 2020 makes the degrees issued by colleges which partner with higher education institutions abroad equivalent to the degrees in state higher education institutions once gaining a certificate of equivalence from the Hellenic National Recognition and Information Center (DOATAP).
Sanctions: If a college is found to not be in compliance with the Law 3696/2008, its licence may be revoked by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. Fines are also imposed as sanctions depending on the severity of the offence.
This section covers regulations from pre-primary to secondary education level.
Registration and approval: To establish a private school from pre-primary to secondary level (including international schools and boarding schools), an application must be made to the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs through the Regional Primary and Secondary Education Directorate. According to the Law 682/1977 on Private Schools of General Education and Boarding Schools (as amended in 2020), applicants can be natural persons, legal persons, associations of persons, or legal entities under public law. For Greek private schools, they must be Greek citizens or (in the case of legal persons) the majority of the board must be Greek citizens. International schools (which follow the Law 4862/1931 on Foreign Schools) can be established by natural persons (non-Greek citizens) or legal persons that do not live in Greece. Several international schools are the outcome of bilateral education agreements signed between Greece and other states. However, the existence of a transnational agreement does not act as a substitute for an operation licence. All applications must be accompanied by the required documents, qualifications, criminal records, registration fee required in the Ministerial Decision 10135/2012, and infrastructure details listed in the Ministerial Decision 3324/Β/12-12-2012 (the latter of which are applicable to private schools, private tutorial centres, foreign language centres, and colleges). The proposed school must meet the minimum standards in infrastructure, classroom size, sanitation and hygiene, and student-classroom ratio, while a licence will only be issued if the needs of the area which the school plans to be established in are not sufficiently served by the existing state or private schools, as stipulated in the Law 2545/1940 on Private Schools, Tutorial Centers, and Boarding Schools (as amended in 2020). The compliance to buildings requirements is subject to the opinion of the National Organization for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP), as stipulated in the Law 4093/2012 (paragraph Θ) and the Ministerial Decision 3324/Β/12-12-2012, following an evaluation of the premises.
Licence: If the applicant meets the minimum requirement, the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs grants the school an operation licence, upon recommendation from the Regional Education Directorate.
Profit-making: Private schools can be established as for-profit or non-profit entities (with the government allowing the establishment of commercial schools). However, only non-profit schools may be eligible for government assistance (Law 2545/1940; Law 682/1977).
Taxes and subsidies: Private schools (Greek and international) are independently funded. However, according to the Law 682/1977 on Private Schools of General Education and Boarding Schools (as amended in 2020), private schools that operate on a non-profit-making basis may be issued by grants by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, as they are entitled to be included within the expenditure budget of the Ministry.
Curriculum and education standards: In Greece, private schools follow the national curriculum and course timetable developed by the Institute for Educational Policy (ΙΕP), with deviations allowed in terms of extra-curricular activities and timetable once the regional authority checks the validity of the curriculum and pedagogical content (which must comply with certain conditions). Private schools may also teach additional foreign languages. International schools can follow the curriculum of a foreign country (fully or partially) upon approval from the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, with schools classified as international schools that fully follow a foreign curriculum, schools that follow the Greek curriculum, and schools that follow both the Greek and foreign curriculum. International schools may also use a foreign language as their language of instruction, with the exception of certain subjects that must be taught by Greek teachers in the Greek language. The teaching of specific Greek subjects according to the Greek curriculum is compulsory for all private schools in Greece (Greek and international).
Teaching profession: The teaching staff in private schools must have the same qualifications required for teachers in state schools, with certain exceptions regarding military obligations, teaching age limit, and foreign language teaching (Law 682/1977). International schools may employ teaching staff of foreign nationality (but not at a disproportionate rate in terms of the school’s needs) with equivalent qualifications to state schoolteachers. While teachers in state schools are considered civil servants and subject to separate labour law, teachers in private schools are employed on the basis of a private employment contract, with their recruitment, appointment and dismissal subject to the relevant provisions in the general labour and their leave entitlement regulated in the Law 682/1977 (Art.35). However, they have the same duties, obligations and teaching hours as teachers in state schools (Ministerial Decision 688/Β/22-4-2015), and must receive equivalent salaries and allowances (at the minimum, in accordance with the relevant provisions in the civil servant law) (Law 682/1977, Art.36). All school teachers (state and private) receive higher salaries and are promoted on the basis of their qualifications, successful length of service, and upon request. Private schools may select their own teachers, which are then approved and appointed by the Regional Education Directorate. According to the Law 1566/1985 on the Structure and Operation of Primary and Secondary Education and other Provisions, teachers in state schools are prohibited from teaching in private schools. All private school teachers must be registered in the Register of Private Teaching Staff of Primary and Secondary Education, as stipulated in the Ministerial Decision 2892/2019. Private school teachers are represented by the Federation of Private Educational Officials in Greece (O.I.E.L.E.).
Fee-setting: As private schools are not subsidized by the state in Greece, schools are allowed to set their own tuition fees for compulsory and non-compulsory subjects, additional activities, and optional transportation. The tuition fees are set in the school’s internal regulations and must be publicly announced within January or February of the previous year (and posted on the Ministry’s website). No fee increases are allowed within the academic year, while any increase in the tuition rate is determined on the basis of a mathematical formula which uses the value change of the general consumer price index, the average teacher salary increase in private education, and the maximum increase rate in tuition fees. The maximum increase rate in tuition fees is announced by the Ministry of Employment each year. In no case may a private school refuse to award a degree to a student due to pending financial obligations, while any discount in tuition fees are decided by the schools themselves.
Admission selection and processes: Children of Greek nationality may not be admitted in an international school at pre-primary and primary level, with international schools mainly serving foreign nationals living in Greece (Law 4862/1931). Schools which follow the curriculum of an EU-Member-State may allow EU-Member State student attendance without restrictions, while schools following the curriculum of a third country may only allow Greek students to attend upon the permission of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs and under certain conditions, as stipulated in the Law 3794/2009.
Policies for vulnerable groups: Private schools may offer health and security benefits and meals to students, but the law does not oblige them to do so. No family allowances or tax exemptions are provided from private school attendance. The transportation of students to and from the school is commonly done by means of the school buses owned by the school, but this if often in exchange for additional payment. According to the Law 4093/2012 (paragraph Θ), all private schools and colleges must provide the necessary infrastructure for students with special needs.
Reporting requirements: All private schools must keep educational records (available for evaluation by education authorities) and have developed Internal Regulations for their operation and organization (which are approved by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs upon registration and made available in a visible place) (Law 682/1977). Private schools are additionally required to submit their financial records to the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs on August each year, as stipulated in the Law 2545/1940 on Private Schools, Tutorial Centers, and Boarding Schools (as amended in 2020).
Inspection: The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs is responsible for the supervision and quality assurance of state and private schools (Greek and international) through the Regional Education Directorates. The Authority for Quality Assurance in Primary and Secondary Education aims to ensure high quality educational work at primary (including pre-primary) and secondary level.
Assessment: Student assessments and final examinations up to lower secondary level are conducted based on the same standards that apply to state schools. At upper secondary level, final examinations must be conducted before committees that consist of state and private school teachers.
Sanctions: The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs may apply sanctions to private schools for offences which include if the school is found to be operating without a licence, diplomas are issued illegally, the staff are unqualified, educational records are not kept, or the school is illegally selling books and stationery to students or any of the offences listed in the Law 4093/2012 (paragraph Θ). Depending on the severity of the case, sanctions can range from fines to school closures (with schools given a specific number of days to close the school).
In Greece, shadow education (the Greek term being parapedia, or ‘parallel to formal education’) is very widespread with numbers peaking at upper secondary level where Greek students prepare for the high-stakes Panhellenic examinations to compete for a place in state-owned higher education institutions. In fact, Greece has the highest rates of private tutoring in Southern Europe, with a 2007 survey indicating that 84% of 18 – 24 year-olds had attended private tutorial centres, with numbers peaking at 96.6% in the last class of upper secondary school. A 2018 survey of university students similarly found that 95% had received some form of supplementary support while at school. Official (unpublished) statistical data concerning students’ receipt of private tutoring in private tutorial centres (not private lessons) recorded 149,386 students attending private tutorial centres in secondary education in 2010-11, which accounted for approximately 22% of the total population at that level. The percentage reaches about 59% if it is calculated on the basis of the general lyceum students and it is about 45% if it is calculated on the basis of the total population of the currently existing lycea types (general and vocational).
The two main forms of shadow education in Greece are legal, non-formal private tutorial centres (frontistiria) and undeclared private lessons (idiaitera mathimata) which are often provided by state or private school teachers one-to-one at a student’s residence. The financial crisis that hit the country in 2008 also led to the establishment of “social tutorial centres” (koinonika frontistiria) that operate under the auspices of churches or municipalities providing free support to students who cannot afford private tutoring tuition fees. Since the 1980s, remedial courses (frontistiriaka tmimata) and inclusion classes (taxis ipodohis) were also introduced into mainstream state schools, targeting immigrant and repatriated Greek children and, as an exception, a few native underachieving students who needed extra help. In 2010-11, these courses and classes became integrated in the so-called “Educational Priority Zones”.
The first law formalizing and regulating shadow education under the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, the Law 2545/1940 on Private Schools, Tutorial Centers, and Boarding Schools (as amended in 2020), was passed in 1940 and remains in force in 2021 (with several amendments). In the law, private tutorial centers are defined as the “teaching of courses to a group of more than five people in total or regardless of the number of groups of more than ten people in total per week, to supplement and consolidate knowledge relating to the courses of primary, lower secondary, upper secondary and tertiary education or for the study of foreign languages or music or general subjects, for a maximum of three hours a day to the persons constituting the group”. Centers are classified (according to the type and level of support provided), as 1) basic education (only operating during summer holidays), 2) secondary education (strengthening students in secondary school subjects), 3) higher education (preparing students for the university entrance examinations), 4) foreign languages (teaching one or more foreign languages), 5) music, 6) free studies, and 7) teaching Greek as a foreign or second language. According to the Law 682/1977 on Private Schools of General Education and Boarding Schools (as amended in 2020), private tutorial centres at primary level have been abolished. Since the 1980s, remedial courses (frontistiriaka tmimata) and inclusion classes (taxis ipodohis) were introduced into mainstream state schools, targeting immigrant and repatriated Greek children and, as an exception, a few native underachieving students who needed extra help. In 2010-11, these courses and classes became integrated in the so-called “Educational Priority Zones”.
Shadow education is supervised and regulated by the Department of Tutorial Centers and Foreign Language Centers (under the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs) through the Law 2545/1940 on Private Schools, Tutorial Centers, and Boarding Schools (as amended in 2020) and several ministerial orders.
According to the Law 2545/1940, private tutorial or foreign language centers can be established by natural or legal person (both of which need to meet the required qualifications) through an application to the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. Legal entities are required to be based within an EU-Member-State, while natural persons must have the equivalent qualifications required for a position in a state primary or secondary school. The establishment of private tutorial centers by a spouse or blood relative of a private school owner or principal is prohibited. All applications must be accompanied by the required registration fee, documents and details listed in the Ministerial Decision 151678/ΙΑ/2012 and the Ministerial Decision 110975/Δ5/2011 and meet the minimum standards (similar to private schools and colleges) in infrastructure and premises listed in the Law 4093/2012 (paragraph Θ). If the minimum standards are met (upon recommendation and approval of the EOPPEP), a licence is issued, which needs to be renewed each year.
While licensed private tutorial centers are allowed to teach courses based on the national curriculum, they are prohibited from conducting examinations (at national or local level) on the national curriculum courses (and therefore simulating the Panhellenic examinations) or they risk losing their licence, as stipulated in the Law 3020/2002. All centers are subject to inspections by the Ministry based on the Law 2545/1940, with sanctions imposed where centers are operating without a valid licence, hiring illegal or unqualified staff, obstructing an inspection, or not complying with the relevant provisions of the law. Sanctions can range from fines to the temporary or permanent revocation of the center’s licence (depending on the severity of the case). The government also regulates the holidays and days off to be taken by private tutorial centers, through the Ministerial Decision 219434/Α5/2016.
All teaching staff hired in private tutorial centres (including the director) must have the minimum qualifications listed in the Law 2545/1940, which are equivalent to the qualifications required for a teacher in the same position in a state school (with a few exceptions). According to the Ministerial Decision 10139/ΙΑ/2012, the qualifications are required to be submitted and approved by the EOPPEP. The law also provides specific provisions for teaching at home, with teachers required to similarly be qualified and gain approval from the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. The government allows teachers in private tutorial centers to also provide private lessons at home. However, teachers in state schools are prohibited from teaching in private tutorial centers, as stipulated in the Law 1566/1985 on the Structure and Operation of Primary and Secondary Education and other Provisions (as amended in 2020). Private school teachers on the other hand may teach in private tutorial centers or provide private lessons to students at home within the limits of 12 hours per week (and after gaining approval from the school principal). The Law 682/1977 on Private Schools of General Education and Boarding Schools (as amended in 2020) specifically states that such a position shall not affect their employment in a private school. Finally, teachers in foreign language centres.