The terms ‘information and communication technologies’ (ICTs) and ‘educational technology’ are used in several education-related laws and strategies, including the 1566/1985 Law on the structure and operation of primary and secondary education and other provisions, 5029/2023 and the 2020-25 Digital Transformation Strategy.
Constitution and laws: The government’s education strategy and the key objectives of the educational system are published in laws and regulations, with key changes carried out through legislation, ministerial decisions and wider actions.
The 1975 Constitution of Greece (as amended in 1986, 2001,2008 and 2019 by FEK 211/A/24-12-2019) provides individuals with the right to the protection of their personal data, particularly through electronic means (Article 9A).
The 4961/2022 Law on Emerging ICTs, Strengthening Digital Governance and Other Provisions includes provisions on cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data privacy, digital skills, and digital governance. According to the Law, the purpose of the Greek National Coalition for Digital Skills and Jobs includes the certification of digital skills and development of digital skills for teachers (Article 87).
The 1566/1985 Law on the structure and operation of primary and secondary education and other provisions describes the purpose, structure and levels of primary and secondary education, the administration of schools, and regulations concerning teaching and administrative staff. As defined in the law, one of the objectives of primary and secondary education is to help students “understand the significance of art, science and technology, to respect human values and to safeguard and promote culture” (Article 1). The law additionally specifies that the purpose of experimental schools is to pilot implementation and experimentation in study programmes and educational technology; new teaching methods and tools, new teaching resources (in paper or digital); and new school textbooks and innovative teaching methods (Article 31).
According to the 4186/2013 Law on the restructuring of secondary education and other provisions, the purpose of general, non-compulsory secondary education is the development of knowledge application and problem-solving skills and the cultivation of skills that will allow students to exploit new ICTs and facilitate their access to the labour market (Article 1).
The 4692/2020 Law on school upgrading and other provisions introduces ‘Skills labs’ in compulsory education, with the aim to strengthen students’ soft skills, life skills and digital and science skills (Article 1, modified by Law 4807/2021). Skills labs were further enhanced through the 3791/2021 Ministerial decision on skills labs in primary education.
The 4823/2021 Law on school upgrading, empowering teachers and other provisions aims to upgrade the curricula, cultivate digital skills, and develop rich digital materials.
In-School Education Clubs and Coordinators were introduced through the Ministerial Decision 4509/2022, which contribute to the strengthening of students interests and skills. Activities include: educational robotics, science experiments, and safe and creative use of the internet.
One of the objectives of higher education institutions, as described in the 4957/2022 Law on strengthening the quality, functionality and connection of higher education institutions with society and other provisions, is to apply modern teaching methods, including distance learning methods, with emphasis on interdisciplinarity and innovative research at the highest level of quality according to internationally recognised criteria.
Additionally, according to Law 4957/2022, (Articles 3, 131, 210, 211), the mission of HEIs includes cooperation with technological bodies in the country and abroad, through the development of an independent university research and innovation centre, a Technology and Innovation Transfer Unit, a Digital Governance Unit, and an electronic platform accessible to students with disabilities for distance learning. Open and distance learning may be provided in first-cycle study programs, joint study programs with foreign HEIs, inter-departmental or inter-university student programs, or second cycle study programs (Article 67).
Policies, plans and strategies: The digital transformation of education is a key priority for the government (with a budget of approximately €365 million), mainly implemented through the 2020-25 Digital Transformation Strategy and National Recovery and Resilience Plan ‘Greece 2.0’.
The 2020-25 Digital Transformation Strategy (also known as the ‘Bible of Digital Transformation’) sets priorities for the digital transformation of the country, as well as goals to develop the digital skills of Greek society, at all levels and ages. The Digital Transformation program focuses on new and emerging technologies and is expected to contribute to the promotion of the digital and economic transformation of the country, but also more broadly to the building of “Digital Greece”. The first three strategic axes of the program focus on the 1) digital transformation of the public sector (total estimated budget of €513 million), 2) strengthening digital connectivity (€303 million), and 3) the development of digital skills (€113 million). The strategy outlines 7 primary objectives, which are aimed at citizens or the education sector, with a dedicated section on the digital transformation of education.
The National Recovery and Resilience Plan ‘Greece 2.0’ aspires to lead the country’s economy, institutions and society into a new era, complying with the EU goals for an accelerated green transition and digital transformation of the Greek economy. The plan reflects the specific goals and structured action plan of the national 2020-25 Digital Transformation Bible, with a specific ‘digital transformation of education’ strategy, which aims to increase long-term employment and productivity through the acquisition of skills required for the green and digital transition and stronger links between education and the labour market. To that end, the strategy includes digital reforms and investments across all levels of education, with a view in integrating digital skills in curricula, investing in digital technologies and research capabilities, introducing evaluation to track and improve educational outcomes, and promoting cooperation between education, research and business.
The vision of the 2020-25 National Cybersecurity Strategy is a “modern and secure digital environment of information and network infrastructures, applications and services for the benefit of economic and social prosperity, aimed at guaranteeing the protection of citizens’ fundamental rights, developing a culture of secure use of digital services and applications, as well as increasing citizens’ and businesses’ confidence in digital technologies.” The plan aims to increase education and awareness in cybersecurity issues, ensure the protection of personal data, and develop a culture of safe digital education.
In 2020/21, the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs implemented the HE Innovate country review - Supporting Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Higher Education, initiative of the European Commission in partnership with the OECD, which focuses on Digital Transformation and Capabilities. In this project, self-assessment procedures and surveys led to a mapping of the current situation of HEIs, with focus on digital infrastructure, digital teaching and learning, and digital aspects of HE internationalisation.
Digital competency frameworks: The 2019 Action Plan for the Promotion of Innovation and Digital Competencies: Digital Skills for Digital Greece, which is based on the European Digital Competence Framework for Citizens (DigComp), includes a dedicated target for the development of digital competencies in education. The Ministry of Digital Governance has implemented various initiatives for the development of digital skills frameworks in Greece, guided by the EU DigComp Frameworks. The Ministry has developed a digital competence self-assessment tool, and aims to develop digital skills frameworks (covering basic, intermediate and advanced levels) which are guided by the European Digital Competency Frameworks and the objectives of the 2020-25 Digital Transformation Strategy (with specific education objectives). In addition, the Greek National Coalition for Digital Skills and Jobs is a cooperation platform between various entities (public or private) involved in promoting and enhancing the digital skills of the Greek society.
Changes occurred as a result of COVID-19: The digital transformation of the education sector and development of distance learning was enhanced after the COVID-19 pandemic, and reflected in the government’s digital transformation strategies, including the 2020-25 Digital Transformation Strategy and 2021 National Recovery and Resilience Plan ‘Greece 2.0. School upgrading laws (Law 4692/2020; Law 4823/2021) also emphasize digital skills development, while several legal provisions were published concerning data privacy protection in distance learning after 2020.
2.2.1. Technology infrastructure and digital capacity of schools
Electricity: All consumers in Greece are entitled to have their home connected to the electricity distribution network, which is provided by the Administrator of the Hellenic Distribution Network (HEDNO S.A.) as part of universal service. The universal service provider, within the meaning of the 4001/2011 Law (Articles 56; 58) is required to supply small customers (households and small enterprises with a power supply of no more the 25 kVA) throughout Greece who fail to select an electricity supplier and are unable to find a supplier in the market based on current commercial terms.
School buildings must be meet the minimum energy efficiency requirements, including electricity and energy consumption standards, in accordance with the Law 4122/2013. The state-owned company Ktiriakes Ypodomes S.A. (overseen by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs) is responsible for the construction and equipment of schools, in accordance with the Law 4199/2013 and the 2856/2013 Ministerial Decision. The government aims to reduce energy consumption by at least 30%, prioritising school buildings.
Computers and devices: Special emphasis is given in the inclusion of ICT in the educational process. To this end, the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs provides technological equipment (such as portable laboratories and interactive boards) and software for classroom use, with all school units being equipped with a school laboratory for information technology and computer applications. School laboratories are equipped with computer equipment (hardware and software), peripheral devices, networking equipment (hubs, switches modems, routers), projectors, electrical installations, networks, and software in CDs, DVDs, discs.
The provision of digital equipment in schools is also strongly supported in the country’s digital transformation plans. The 2020-25 Digital Transformation Strategy aims to increase the use of ICT by primary and secondary students, through the development of 100 pilot Augmented Reality Labs which use artificial intelligence technology in the teaching/learning process for schools of all levels and enhancement of interactive and personalised learning through the provision of interactive whiteboards. The National Recovery and Resilience Plan ‘Greece 2.0’ similarly aims to integrate modern digital tools in schools which allow for interactive digital classes and supply of upgraded laboratory equipment, and offer financial support to students to acquire the necessary equipment. This includes the installation of at least 36,000 interactive learning systems (including white-boards, laptops, interactive projectors and internal cables) for classrooms of primary and secondary schools and the provision of vouchers for the purchase of necessary equipment for students coming from vulnerable social groups.
The ‘Digital Care II’ Program, which is being implemented within the framework of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan ‘Greece 2.0’, has subsidized over half a million students with €200 vouchers for the purchase of technological equipment (tablets, laptops, desktop PC computers). Devices must have minimum technical characteristics to be eligible for subsidy, and be accompanied by specific warranty and support services, as well as anti-virus software to protect the device and users when browsing the Internet. The second Digital Care program (Digital Care II) supported additional beneficiaries with €200 vouchers for the purchase of technological equipment, including public and private sector teachers and families with dependent members and minors under guardianship attending educational institutions in the country and affected by the 2021 fires. During the period 2020-2022, over 90,000 tablets and laptops were provided to schools, interactive whiteboards were installed in classrooms, while more than 177,000 robotics kits were additionally provided for students aged 4-15 in kindergarten, primary and secondary schools to accelerate the digital transformation of education.
The 4823/2021 Law on school upgrading, empowering teachers and other provisions additionally supports the provision of assistive technologies for students with disabilities (Article 11).
Internet connectivity: According to the 4727/2020 Law, the Universal Service consists of the provision of an adequate broadband internet access service and voice communication services, including the underlying connection, as a fixed location. The Panhellenic School Network (sch.gr) is the national internet service provider of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, covering nearly 14,000 schools at primary and secondary education level. Both the 2020-25 Digital Transformation Strategy and the National Recovery and Resilience Plan ‘Greece 2.0’ aim to further upgrade infrastructure of the Panhellenic School Network (sch.gr), aiming towards fast, reliable and uninterrupted access to the internet for all schools. During the period 2020-22, internet connectivity was enhanced for over 14,000 schools.
2.2.2. Technology and learning environments
Several education laws included provisions for distance learning prior to COVID-19, including the 1566/1985 Law on the structure and operation of primary and secondary education and other provisions (making reference to educational radio and television programs) and the 4186/2013 Law on the restructuring of secondary education and other provisions (with reference to distance learning for non-formal education programs and universities).
The legal framework for distance education was enhanced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with several ministerial decisions published on the provision of distance learning. This included the 2020 Ministerial Decision on the provision of distance education for the 2020-21 school year (establishing an online digital platform for distance learning), the 3882/2020 Joint decision of the Minister and the Deputy Minister of Education and Religious Affairs on Modern distance learning education for the school year 2020-21, and the Amendment of the 2020 joint decision of the Minister and the Deputy Minister of Education and Religious Affairs on Modern distance learning education for the school year 2020-21. All schools of primary and secondary level were required by law to provide modern online distance education to students who were unable to attend in-person education lessons during the COVID-19 pandemic, with teachers explicitly required by law to provide distance education during COVID-19 if their school was closed. The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs issued Guidelines for Distance Education, and collated a list of available resources.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, by the fall of 2020, Greece's entire education system, starting from pre-primary to tertiary level and lifelong learning was being performed online, for the most part through synchronous e-learning. More than 300,000 classes were being taught per day, with 6 million students participating daily. All public school teachers (153,000 individual teacher accounts) were registered, while there was zero charge from mobile networks for accessing educational platforms.
The government mobilised pre-existing digital resources, such as online libraries of digital textbooks, digital lesson plans and digital education platforms and introduced new digital platforms for synchronous online teaching, taking into consideration the needs of students with disabilities. The Ministry specifically developed 3 pillars of distance learning: synchronous education (live lessons on Webex platforms), asynchronous education (collaboration, communication, and file sharing on two asynchronous digital platforms, the 'e-me' collaborative Personal Learning Environment and the 'e-class' Learning Management System, as well as digital resources) educational TV programmes for primary school students. Moreover, several platforms with digital learning resources (e-books, digital learning resources, exercise papers, videos) were made accessible to all and used beyond the pandemic. To facilitate access to digital education resources for the most vulnerable, the Ministry (in collaboration with mobile network providers) ensured free access through telephone landlines, mobile phones and tablets. The government additionally issued specific guidelines for providing distance learning to students with special educational needs, while digital features to enable access for those with disabilities were added to the digital learning platform.
Since 2015, the government has also developed an open academic e-textbooks platform known as Kallipos Open Academic e-Textbooks.
In 2020-2022, the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs provided schools with the free use of an international video conferencing platform covering 1.6 million members of education community. In 2023, the Ministerial Decision on the Conditions and Organisation of Distance Education for Master’s Programs in Higher Education Institutions provided universities with the ability to implement full distance learning instruction for their master’s programs.
The 2020-25 Digital Transformation Strategy further supports the development of distance learning platforms and the provision of synchronous and asynchronous distance learning, with one of its objectives aiming towards the expansion and development of open digital educational content and distance learning platforms.
As part of the wider transformation of digital education in Greece, the government has adopted several digital structures to support modern and asynchronous distance learning, such as the collaborative Digital Educational Platform e-me, the Digital School portal, the Interactive Textbooks Digital Library, the Photodentro OER Learning Content, the Digital Teaching Scenarios Platform ‘Aisopos’, Universal Design and Development of Accessible Digital Educational Material, Learning At Home website, and Panhellenic School Network-Teleconferences.
One of the main purposes of the 2020-25 Digital Transformation Strategy is the development of digital skills and competencies throughout the education system, with specific goals to foster and develop the digital skills of students across education levels; increase the availability and accessibility of education and training programmes for the acquisition of digital skills at basic, intermediate and advanced level; launch a variety of actions to contribute to enhancing both basic and advanced digital skills; help citizens acquire digital citizenship skills; set up the National Centre for the Development of Digital Skills; create a self-assessment mechanism for determining different levels of digital competence and defining a personalised learning path; and develop a unified homogenisation mechanism for the certification of education and training programs in digital skills at the national level. The strategy additionally aims to enhance the integration of innovative technologies in the educational process of primary and secondary education, institutionalise weekly information technology hours in all classes of secondary education, and implement a single and systematic mechanism of certification for digital skills programmes and adapting them to address changing labour market needs. The National Recovery and Resilience Plan ‘Greece 2.0’ similarly aims to integrate digital skills in school curricula of all levels.
The school upgrading laws (law 4692/2020, law 4823/2021) additionally support the acquisition of digital skills and reforms of school curricula. The syllabus of primary schools and kindergartens is determined by Article 11 of the PD (79/2017). The learning objectives of the computer science course in primary schools are: ICT in connection with the natural environment, the workplace, language, values, and culture.
The 4692/2020 Law on school upgrading and other provisions introduced 21st century Skills Labs in pre-primary, primary and secondary schools with the aim to strengthen students’ soft skills, life skills and digital and science skills. Skills labs operated as a pilot during the 2020/21 academic year as part of the 2021 Ministerial decision Skills Labs in Primary Education, and have since been implemented in all classes throughout the country. This initiative, which is part of the mandatory national curriculum in compulsory education, aims to move away from a knowledge-centric model to a skills-based approach. Skills labs support the acquisition of 21st century digital learning skills (Digital communication, Digital collaboration, Digital creativity, Digital critical thinking, Combined skills of digital technology, communication and collaboration), Digital Citizenship Skills (E-Government Proficiency, Digital citizenship, Safe internet browsing, Protection from addictive behaviours in technologies, Resilience), Technology, engineering and science skills, and Cognitive skills (such as problem solving and computational thinking).
Since 2017, some schools have also been selected to participate in the EU eTwinning action initiative, which gives students the ability to develop skills in STEM and robotics. The National Recovery and Resilience Plan ‘Greece 2.0’ additionally promotes the integration of Technology and Science within STEM programs (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in the Centers for Creative Employment to support the enhancement of children and adolescent digital skills. All digital education and skills programmes aim to take into account the participation of women and young girls.
The development and enhancement of teacher digital skills is supported by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan ‘Greece 2.0’ (which aims to (re)train teachers in digital skills) and the 2020-25 Digital Transformation Strategy, which similarly supports the development of teachers’ digital skills.
Teacher training in digital skills is also provided by law. The 4692/2020 Law on School Upgrading and Other Provisions specifies that a certification in new technologies training is one of the criteria for teacher selection in model and experimental schools, while one of the prerequisites for the selection of teachers in a position of responsibility is the certified knowledge of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Moreover, the law 4823/2021, which aims to strengthen the role of teachers in educational management positions, allows for teachers to be appointed as IT and New Technologies managers in schools, while teachers are additionally evaluated on their ICT skills and the utilization of technologies in their teaching practices. According to law 4547/ 2018, compulsory weekly teaching schedule at secondary level includes workshops for teachers of Technological Education sectors. At primary level, the course is taught by a specialist teacher. The Regional Centres for Educational Planning, established by law 4547/2018, have the responsibility of introducing teachers to new technologies in the educational practice.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the government aimed to equip teachers with competences to drive digital transformation of Greek schooling, with teacher training seminars on distance education developed and made available on the website of the Institute of Educational Policy. In 2020-22, almost 83,000 teachers participated in the training program. The government additionally plans to train 120,000 teachers in the period 2023-25 in digital skills and competencies.
2.4.1. Data privacy
According to the 1975 Constitution of Greece (as amended in 2008), everyone has the right to the protection against the collection, processing and use of their personal data, particularly through electronic means (Article 9A). The Law 4624/2019 on the Protection of Natural Persons Against the Processing of Personal Data, developed by the Personal Data Protection Authority, provides this right, aiming towards the implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Greece. According to the 61/2022 Ministerial Decision, distance learning at primary and secondary level must comply with the data protection principles in the national data protection law.
The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs is responsible for the processing of the personal data of students, parents/guardians and teachers for public primary and secondary education, and is required to comply with GDPR provisions and national law on data protection, as stated in the 3882/2020 Joint decision of the Minister and the Deputy Minister of Education and Religious Affairs on Modern distance learning education for the school year 2020-21. If a private school chooses to provide distance education on a different digital platform than the one developed and provided for free by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, the school must take all the necessary measures and actions to comply with legal provisions on the protection of personal data.
The 2020-25 National Cybersecurity Strategy additionally aims to ensure the protection of fundamental rights: in particular, the protection of personal data and the protection of privacy, developing a culture of safe use of digital education and continuous information and awareness of the risks and pitfalls of new technologies.
2.4.2. Online abuse and cyberbullying
The 4692/2020 Law on School Upgrading and Other Provisions includes provisions to strengthen school safety and regulate school bullying, with no specific reference to cyberbullying. The government is in the process of developing a law (509/2023: Living in Harmony Together - Breaking the Silence) that regulates school violence and bullying (including cyberbullying and abuse), which is based on the Arrangements for the prevention of school violence and bullying. The Arrangements for the prevention of school violence and bullying include online abuse as part of the government’s definition of school bullying and abuse. The government aims to establish a digital platform for students, teachers and parents to address issues with school violence. According to the 2022-27 National Action Plan on Child Protection from Sexual Abuse and Exploitation, the government has a zero-tolerance policy for the sexual abuse of children (including online abuse) and aims to protect children from the online environment. Cyberbullying is also included as part of the mandatory curriculum at primary and secondary level.
The safe use of computers and the internet (including cyberbullying) are also the main themes of the health education activity programs which are implemented at primary and secondary schools based on relevant circulars of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, and updated every year.
The Greek educational system is under the central responsibility and supervision of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. There are several directorates (P.D. 18/2018) under the Ministry which are responsible for educational technology. The Directorate-General for Digital Systems, Infrastructure and Examinations has under its supervision the Directorate of Educational Technology and Innovation (with separate departments for primary/secondary, higher education and lifelong learning), the Directorate of Electronic and Network Systems, and the Directorate of Information Systems Development. There is also the Department of Educational Radio/Television and Digital Media under the Directorate of Program Support and Education for Sustainability.
At the same time, the following bodies that are supervised by the Ministry of Education play an essential role in shaping and implementing the strategy on the digitalisation of education.
The Institute of Educational Policy (IEP) is an executive scientific and research body that supports the Ministry of Education in matters regarding primary and secondary education, teacher training, higher education, post upper secondary education, tackling student inequalities, school drop-out and early school-leaving, with the objective to assure the right to education for all children. IEP assists the Ministry of Education in matters related to the training of teachers in digital skills (Laws 3966/2011, 4763/2020).
The Computer Technology Institute and Press “DIOPHANTUS” (CTI) is a research and technological body under the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, which aims to promote research and the effective application of ICT in education. Particular emphasis is placed on the development and application of educational technologies and digital media in education and lifelong learning, the publication of printed (school books) and electronic educational material, the administration and management of the Greek School Network as well as the support of the Ministry's and all the educational units electronic infrastructure (law 3966/2011, 4589/2019, 4610/2019 and 4790/2021).
The Ministry of Digital Governance of Greece additionally collaborates with the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs on the digitalisation of the education system. The National Cybersecurity Authority of the Ministry is specifically responsible for safeguarding the digital transformation of the country from growing cyberthreats and the implementation of the national cybersecurity strategy.
Schools are responsible for assessing the progress made on the integration of ICT in their school setting.
The Ministry circular Φ.25/103373/Δ1/2018 on the 'use of mobile phones and electronic devices in schools' prohibits the use of mobile phones and other electronic devices by students on school premises.
As of April 2020, the government accepts donations from private individuals regarding the provision of technology equipment in public primary schools and kindergartens. The Ministry of Health, based on a series of ministerial decisions, defines which schools will be distributed with electronic equipment.
This profile has been reviewed by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs (Greece).