Greece does not have a long-standing tradition in providing non-formal education for adults.
The Greek accession to the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1981 helped the development of this form of provision. The goal was to improve the competences of the workforce beyond the formal stages of education.
Until 1993, ESF financing was largely channeled to the "general training" network of 300 adult education centres operating throughout the country.
Between 1994 and 1999, adult education rigorously applied the European Social Fund (ESF) guidelines. The aim was to ensure public funding for the development of a system of Continuing Vocational Training (CVET).
From 2000 onwards, the implementation of new policies and initiatives, within a lifelong learning policy framework, covers different forms of education and training. The latter enable adults to develop and reorient their education on the basis of varying individual needs.
Based on this context, the holistic concept of general adult education (formal and non-formal) was introduced in 2010 (law 3879/2010). It includes all organised learning activities addressed to adults that seek to:
- Enrich their knowledge
- Develop abilities and skills
- Grow their personality
- Develop active citizenship.
A large number of institutions, fully or partly subsidised by the state, provided general adult education.
The responsible national authority is the Secretariat General for Vocational Education and Training, Life Long Learning and Youth/Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs (law 4763/2020).
There are also a number of bodies and organisations that operate as legal entities of public and/or private law, supervised by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs:
- The Youth and Lifelong Learning Foundation (ΙNEDIVIM).
- The National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP).
In parallel, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and other Ministries also provide IVET and CVET.
Municipalities and private providers provide adult education.
Public adult education and training is free of charge and accessible to all.