Administration and governance at central level
The education policy is defined at central level by the government, which also sets out the general policy to be followed at different policy areas. The Minister of Education is responsible for shaping the education policy and for monitoring its implementation, as well as for administering all the sectors, services and levels of the education system. The Minister through the administrative services and the advisors of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs prepares the bills and presidential decrees regulating the educational system and issues the relevant ministerial decisions. The Parliament assumes legislative work and enforces parliamentary control. The Standing Committee on Cultural and Educational Affairs, competent on matters of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Culture and Sports, elaborates and examines bills or law proposals. It may also exercise legislative work and parliamentary control. In order to perform his/her duties, the Minister may be assisted by the Alternate Minister or the Deputy Minister(s), provided that responsibilities between them are distinct. The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs includes the Service Secretary and 4 separate General Secretariats which are run by General Secretaries:
- The General Secretariat for Primary, Secondary and Special Education
- The General Secretariat for Higher Education
- The General Secretariat for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth
- The General Secretariat for Religious Affairs.
In shaping policy, the Ministry's cabinet may be supported by collective consultative/advisory bodies which are set up at national level. These bodies provide policy advice for school and higher education, lifelong learning, science and the arts. In this framework, the Council for the National Policy on Education may be set up and operate as an advisory body for the Minister of Education. Its members are former Ministers of Education. The President of the Council is the current Minister of Education. The national quality assurance bodies are also an important component of governance at central level. These bodies are responsible for setting quality standards, performing evaluation, shaping and implementing policies and standards to improve the quality of education. They are independent administrative agencies supervised by the Minister of Education, who exercises control of legality. Each year, they submit annual activity reports to the Minister of Education. For higher and school education respectively, the following structures exist:
- The Hellenic Authority for Higher Education (HAHE): its mission is to ensure high quality in higher education. It is the continuation of the Hellenic Authority for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education (HQA), which was established and has been operating since 2006. The Authority is managed by its President and Supreme Council. HAHE, in the context of its mission:
- contributes to the formation and implementation of the national strategy for higher education and the distribution of financing for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and
- evaluates and accredits the operational quality of HEIs. The Authority is a member of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA). (Law 4653/2020 & law 4957/2022).
- The Authority for Quality Assurance in Primary and Secondary Education (ADIPPDE): its mission is to ensure high quality educational work in primary and secondary education. In the context of its mission, ADIPPDE
- evaluates the quality of the educational system and
- supports the Ministry of Education in improving the design of the national strategy for primary and secondary education aiming at the students’ successful transition to post-secondary education, career and lifelong learning (laws 4142/2013, 4547/2018).
At the same time, the following bodies that are supervised by the Ministry of Education play an essential role in shaping and implementing the educational policy:
- The Institute of Educational Policy (IEP), 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 assessment of the educational work as well as the evaluation of school units and teachers. (Laws 3966/2011, 4763/2020).
- The Computer Technology Institute and Press “DIOPHANTUS” (CTI) is a research and technological institution, aiming at promoting research and the effective application of Communication Technologies (ICT) in the field of education. Particular emphasis is placed on the development and application of conventional 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 (laws 3966/2011, 4589/2019, 4610/2019 and 4790/2021).
- The National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications & Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP) develops and implements an integrated national certification system of non-formal education (initial, continuing vocational training and general adult education). It also supports scientifically the vocational guidance and counseling services in Greece. EOPPEP operates as the national coordination point (NCP) for the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and the national reference point for quality assurance. It represents Greece in the European network for Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training (EQAVET). (Laws 4115/2013, 4763/2020).
- The Youth and Lifelong Learning Foundation (INEVIDIM), that aims at implementing actions, programmes and projects on lifelong learning and youth, with emphasis on supporting innovation. It also manages issues related to pupil and student welfare (law 4115/2013).
Finally, the planning of the educational policy at central level is also significantly influenced by the academic and educational community, scientific associations and trade unions, society and social expression media, as well as the educational unit itself; the latter provides central authorities with valuable information on its operation and the services offered. In Greece, education is provided free of charge at all three levels of education, primary, secondary and higher education, and is funded primarily through the state budget and resources of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. The state budget consists of two parts, the Ordinary Budget covering operating expenses and the Public Investment Budget that finances the Public Investment Program (PIP). The PIP is divided into the national part, financed from purely national resources and the co-financed part, financed from national and EU resources or other organisms. The PIP aims at the country's development policy with projects that contribute to its growth and modernization on a long-term basis, covering infrastructure costs (buildings, equipment, co-financed actions, etc.).
Adult education and training is also funded through the state budget and resources of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs with the largest share being covered by the co-financed part of the PIP through the implementation of the NSRF operational programs. Early childhood education and care is provided in infant care (vrefikoi stathmoi), infant/child care (vrefonipiakoi stathmoi) and child care centres (paidikoi stathmoi) within the competence of Municipalities and funding mainly from the state budget through resources of the Ministry of Interior allocated for this purpose in the Municipalities of the country.
Administrative structure of the ministry of education and religious affairs
The administrative structure of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs includes the following services:
- Minister’s Office
- Deputy Ministers’ Offices
- Office of the Secretary General for Primary, Secondary and Special Education
- Office of the Secretary General for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth
- Office of the Secretary General for Higher Education
- Office of the Secretary General for Religious Affairs
- Office of the Service Secretary.
The following services are under the Minister’s Office:
- Directorate-General for Strategic Design, Programming and e-Government
- Directorate-General for Digital Systems, Infrastructure and Examinations
- Directorate-General for Financial Services
- Directorate-General for Human Resources
- Independent Directorate for Internal Control
- Independent Directorate for Compilation, Submission of Supporting Documents and other issues
- Independent Department for Parliamentary Control
- Independent Department for Legislative Initiative
- Independent Office of Scientific Consultants
- Press Office.
The following services are under the General Secretariat for Primary, Secondary and Special Education:
- Directorate-General for Primary and Secondary Education Studies
- Directorate-General for Primary and Secondary Education Teaching Personnel
- Directorate-General for International and European Affairs, Education for Hellenic Diaspora and Intercultural Education
- Independent Directorate for Private Education
- Independent Department for Regional Service Human Resources
- Independent Department for the Coordination and Monitoring of Refugee Education
- 13 Regional Directorates of Primary and Secondary Education.
The following services are under the General Secretariat for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth:
- Directorate General for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth
- Independent Department of Implementation of European Legislation.
The following service is under the General Secretariat for Higher Education:
- Directorate-General for Higher Education.
The following services are under the General Secretariat for Religious Affairs:
- Directorate for Religious Administration
- Directorate for Religious Education and Interreligious Affairs.
The following services also operate in the Ministry of Education:
- Office of the Legal Council of the State
- Service of the Court of Audit’s Commissioner.
The following councils/boards are set up and operate in the Ministry of Education:
- Central Service Council for Administrative Staff
- Central Service Council for Primary Education
- Central Service Council for Secondary Education
- Central Selection Board for the compilation of selection lists and the selection of Regional Directors of Primary and Secondary Education
- Central Service Council for Special Education Personnel
- Central Council for Vocational Education and Training
- Supervisory Board for Secondary Ecclesiastic Education
- Service Board for Secondary Ecclesiastic Education.
Primary and secondary education
In school education, the responsibility for formulating educational policy lies mainly with the central educational authorities. Educational policy includes the development of the curriculum, allocation of teaching time, writing and distribution of textbooks, placement of teachers and other school staff, as well as school funding. Educational policy falls under the competence of the General Secretariat for Primary, Secondary and Special Education of the Ministry of Education. Primary and secondary education is financed centrally by the state budget through the ordinary budget and the public investments program. The PIP is divided into the national part financed from purely national resources and the co-financed part financed from national and EU resources or other organisms. The competent service is the Directorate-General for Financial Services.
Higher education institutions in Greece are self-governed legal entities of public law, whose operation is governed by law 4957/2022. The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, supported by the Hellenic Authority for Higher Education-HAHE, is responsible for formulating higher education policy, for preparing regulations related to HEIs and for supervising their operation. According to Law 4957/2022, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) draw up a multi-year strategic plan for academic development, in accordance with the national strategy program for higher education of Law 4653/2020, the national strategy for research and innovation, as well as the developments and the main objectives of the actions for higher education in the European and international area. The strategic plan has a duration of at least 4 years. The plan includes the short-term and medium-term goals in the sectors that HEI wishes to develop, as well as the actions and means proposed for their implementation. National legislation has granted autonomy to HEIs as regards their development potential, activities and institutional goals. However, the national regulations specify HEIs governance bodies as well as their respective duties and responsibilities. HEIs are funded by the state through the state budget and the public investment programme for Higher Education. HEI’s funding is partly (20%) based on performance criteria, such as internationalization, quality assurance, research and innovation, absorption of graduates in the labour market etc, while the other part (80%) is based on objective criteria such as the number of students and academic staff etc. HEIs assume responsibility for the management of resources deriving from the state funding and their own assets. The administration of higher education in the Ministry of Education is applied by the General Directorate for Higher Education.
At central level, the General Secretariat for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, plans, coordinates, monitors, promotes and forms the public policy for vocational education, vocational training, lifelong learning and youth (Law 4763/2020). The Central Council for Vocational Education and Training submits to the Minister of Education proposals and suggestions concerning national policy-making on VET and lifelong learning, particularly in the context of promoting knowledge, making effective use of the competences of the human resources and linking education with labour market and employment. Every 3 years, the Council submits the Strategic Plan for VET and Lifelong Learning to the Minister of Education. The Central Scientific Committee (KEE) offers scientific support to the General Secretariat and the Central Council for Vocational Education and Training. The Committee’s mission is the scientific research, study and evidence on matters concerning the improvement of quality and effectiveness of VET as well as of lifelong learning programmes. Adult education and training is also funded through the state budget and resources of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs with the largest share being covered by the co-financed part of the PIP through the implementation of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) operational programmes.
Administration and governance at regional level
Primary and secondary education
Regional education authorities contribute to national educational policy-making at regional level. They also coordinate and supervise the implementation of the educational policy for primary and secondary education in their area of competence. A significant impetus towards decentralisation was initially outlined in the framework of law 2986/2002, which established the regional structure of education. Law 4547/2018 reinforced the decentralised responsibilities of regional directorates of education. The law 4823/2021 reforms the existing framework for the structures and staff of primary and secondary education, aiming at their essential contribution to the educational process and the consistent pedagogical support of teachers. The support structures for primary and secondary education, as well as the selection system for education staff, are being radically reorganised. The basic management and governance structure of school education at regional level is the Regional Primary and Secondary Education Directorate. This is a decentralised service of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs that falls under the competence of the General Secretary for Primary, Secondary and Special Education. The Regional Directorate operates as a single structure for primary and secondary education in each of the 13 regions in the country. The Regional Education Directorates are managed by Regional Education Directors. The Regional Education Directorates are responsible for the administration and the scientific and pedagogical guidance of education in the area of their region, elaborating national educational policy according to regional specific characteristics and needs. They establish links between regional education services and central education authorities. Every Regional Education Directorate includes the following:
- Independent Directorate for Administrative, Financial and Pedagogical Support
- Primary and Secondary Education Directorates.
The Independent Directorate for Administrative, Financial and Pedagogical Support gives administrative, financial and pedagogical support to Primary and Secondary Education Directorates, as well as supervises and coordinates regional services. The following councils/boards operate at the seat of each Regional Directorate:
- High Regional Service Council for Primary Education
- High Regional Service Council for Secondary Education
- Regional Council of Supervisors
- Regional Service Council for Special Education Personnel
- Regional Service Council for Administrative Personnel
- Production-labour market Liaison Council.
- Advisory Committee of Educational Centres for the Environment and Sustainability.
In addition, at regional level, the following councils are also established by decision of the Service Secretary of the Ministry of Education:
- 4 Regional Councils for the Selection of Directors of Primary and Secondary Education
- 3 Regional Councils for the Selection of Primary Education Advisors and
- 3 Regional Councils for the Selection of Secondary Education Advisors.
Other decentralised services of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs under the Regional Education Directorate are:
- Directorates of Primary and Secondary Education
- Centres for Interdisciplinary Assessment, Counseling and Support
- Educational Centres for the Environment and Sustainability.
Administration and governance of higher education is not applicable at regional level, since HEIs in Greece are self-governed legal entities of public law, under the supervision of the Ministry of Education at central level.
The law 4763/2020 restructures and upgrades Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Lifelong Learning. In particular, Production-labour market liaison councils are introduced in the regions of the country, aiming at decentralising the governance system of VET.
Production-labour market liaison councils:
- Detect local needs relating to VET and lifelong learning matters and submit proposals to the Central Council for Vocational Education and Training to meet these needs.
- Submit proposals to the Council for the sectors, specialisations, specific courses, programmes and activities regarding the vocational training institutes (IEKs), the post-secondary year-apprenticeship class, the vocational upper secondary schools (EPALs), the vocational training schools (ESKs) and the vocational apprenticeship schools of the Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) in their region.
- Submit to the Central Council for Vocational Education and Trainingproposals for designing educational activities regarding entrepreneurship and innovation.
- Support apprenticeship in their region following the guidelines set out by the Council.
- Contact, inform and motivate local enterprises towards traineeship and apprenticeship, following the guidelines set out by the Council.
- Each year, by the end of July, each Production-labour market liaison council submits an annual report on its activities and its programming for the following year. The report is submitted to the Minister of Education and the Chairman of the Council.
For the implementation of post-secondary year-apprenticeship class, The competeng General Secretariat cooperates with the 13 regional primary and secondary education directorates. In each regional directorate, one (1) administrative employee or teacher is designated as the regional directorate’s supervisor for apprenticeship for 2 years.