Greek educational system Overview

The Greek education system is governed by national laws and legislative acts (decrees, ministerial decisions), while the general responsibility for education lies with the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs.

Curricula and weekly timetables, for all types of primary and secondary education schools, are centrally specified and their application is compulsory for all schools in the country.

Early Childhood Education and Care

Pre-primary education in Greece begins at the age of 4 when children are allowed to enrol in Nipiagogeia (pre-primary schools). Attendance in them is compulsory for all 5 year old children. The operation of Nipiagogeia falls under the authority of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. In what regards early childhood care, Child and Infant Centres operate under the auspices of the Municipal Authorities.

Primary Education
The next stage comprises the compulsory attendance of Dimotiko Scholeio (Primary School) which belongs to primary education and lasts for 6 years.

Secondary education

Secondary education includes two cycles of study:


The first one is compulsory and corresponds to gymnasio (lower secondary school).

  • It lasts 3 years
  • It provides general education
  • It covers ages 12-15
  • It is a prerequisite for enrolling at general or vocational upper secondary schools
  • Parallel to day gymnasio, evening (esperino) gymnasio operates.  Attendance starts at the age of 14.


The second one is the optional geniko or epangelmatiko lykeio (general or vocational upper secondary school).

  • It lasts 3 years
  • Pupils enrol at the age of 15
  • There are two different types:
  1. Geniko (general) lykeio. It lasts 3 years and includes both common core subjects and optional subjects of specialisation
  2. Epangelmatiko (vocational) lykeio. It offers two cycles of studies:
  1. The secondary cycle
  2. The optional post-secondary cycle, the so-called “apprenticeship class”.

Parallel to day lykeia, there are also:

  1. Esperina genika (evening general) lykeia
  2. Esperina epangelmatika (evening vocational) lykeia.

Post-secondary education

  1. Institouta epangelmatikis katartisis – IEK (vocational training institutes) are the main providers of post-secondary non-tertiary education. They operate in the non-formal education framework. They lead to the acquisition of nationally recognised certificates.
  2. Kollegia (colleges) provide non-formal post-secondary education and training and are part of the private sector.  They award degrees, titles, study certificates or any other certificate which can be recognised as professionally equivalent to higher education degrees awarded by the Greek formal education system.

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