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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Adult Education and Training Funding


3.Funding in education

3.3Adult Education and Training Funding

Last update: 27 November 2023

Main funding principles

Main policy aims of public funding in adult education

Laws 3879/2010 and 4186/2013 establish the development of vocational training and general adult education and training as an equal benchmark of Lifelong Learning and one of its basic goals.

The development of Lifelong Learning and the creation of a Lifelong Learning Network seek to identify alternative educational pathways beyond the formal educational system. The main goals are:

  • the integration and reintegration of individuals in the labor market
  • work assurance and
  • professional and personal development 

Lifelong Learning is open to all adult citizens, whether they are employed or not, students or not.

The provisions of law 4763/2020 regulate the National System of Vocational Education, Training and Lifelong Learning, in order to redesign the regulatory framework for vocational education, vocational training, lifelong learning and youth, without discrimination and exclusion. Its main goal is the development, at national level, of competitive human resources in the international environment of the economy, the improvement of employment, the fight against unemployment as well as the guarantee of the rights and equal opportunities of all citizens.

In particular, public funding for adult education and training aims to:

  • the strategic planning of vocational education and training for the optimal satisfaction of the needs of the individual, the labor market and the Greek economy.
  • connect vocational education, training and lifelong learning with the labor market with the effective participation of the social partners.
  • strengthen the degree of autonomy of vocational education and training units, with an active role of the local community representatives.
  • establish and strengthen synergies between existing mechanisms for diagnosing and monitoring labor market needs.
  • plan and implement integrated positive actions for the youth, included in the overall strategy for upgrading the qualifications of young people.

Publicly funded lifelong learning and adult education structures and categories of learners

Adult education and training is achieved through funded, national or EU resources, adult education and lifelong learning institutions aimed at:

  • Adults, who have not completed compulsory education and attend the Second Chance Schools (SDE).
  • Graduates of formal non-compulsory secondary education (general and vocational), who can attend Vocational Training Institutes (IEK).
  • Graduates of non-compulsory secondary vocational education, as well as holders of equivalent degrees who can attend the Post-Secondary year-Apprenticeship Class.
  • Adults, who wish general education or continuing vocational training, can attend the Lifelong Learning Centers of the Municipalities as well as the Training and Lifelong Learning Centers that exist in every Higher Education Institute.

Depending on the nature of the programmes, the educational activities they provide and the target groups they address, there are 3 different categories of organisations active in the area of adult education and training in Greece:

  • Public (state funded or subsidised) providers that offer basic education programmes (formal and non-formal) to adults.
  • Private companies and providers that consist of collective organisations (such as chambers) and offer initial and/or continuing education and training opportunities to unemployed, employees and professionals.
  • Public organisations that are established as educational institutions of a higher level such as universities and colleges and provide initial and/or continuing education and training opportunities to students, graduates, unemployed and professionals.
  • the General Secretariat for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, which is the main body for lifelong learning and the development of an adult education policy, through educational activities of a national range.
  • The Youth and Lifelong Learning Foundation (INEVIDIM) that implements programmess of the General Secretariat for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth. INEVIDIM is the beneficiary of public funds for the operation of Vocational Training Institutes (IEK) and EU funds coming from the Partnership Agreement for the operation of Second Chance Schools (SDE) and Lifelong Learning Centres (KDVM).
  • The Municipalities that also undertake the establishment and operation of Lifelong Learning Centers (KDVM).
  • The Higher Education Institutes where the Training and Lifelong Learning Centers operate (Law 4485/2017). The Training and Lifelong Learning Centers are funded by operational or other co-financed programs, public or private sector bodies and the European Union and other international organizations, as well as donations and sponsorships.

Pusruant to law 3879/2010, lifelong learning programmes can be provided by agencies and various public entities functioning at a national, regional or local level, such as:

  • Bodies and structures providing general education services. These can be social, religious or cultural bodies/agencies
  • Bodies that organise and implement internship-training programmes funded by public means
  • Centres for the Promotion of Occupation (KPA), as long as they provide Lifelong Learning counselling and professional guidance
  • Public bodies providing non-formal education to public workforce, such as the National Centre for Public Administration & Local Government
  • Third-level trade unions and employers that co-sign the National Collective Employment Contract; for instance, the Centre of Educational Policy Development (KANEP) of the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE).

Funding mechanisms

As mentioned above, adult education is funded to a great extent by state and community funds.

First of all, it is funded on a yearly basis by the regular budget of the Ministry of

through the General Secretariat for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth.

This amount refers mainly to the following: 

  1. funding of the Youth and Lifelong Leaning Foundation (INEVIDIM) that handles the payment of expenses/wages on the basis, for example, of the number of trainees or the expenses for expendables or equipment, and
  2. funding of public Vocational Training Institutes (IEK) and it is intended to support labour costs and their operational expenditure.

Funding takes into account the specificities of the educational units, for example, the number of trainees/trainers. 

Secondly, the main co-funded programme within the framework of PA (Partnership Agreement for the Development Framework) 2014-2020 for Lifelong Learning and Apprenticeship is the Operational Programme “Human Resources Development, Education and Lifelong  Learning”  (HRDELL OP), which includes actions for the development of Lifelong Learning and Vocational Education and Training primarily aiming to improve the relevance of education, training and lifelong learning to the labour market.

The following table depicts actions and key objectives:

INVESTMENT PRIORITY 10.3: Improving  equal access to lifelong learning for all age groups in the framework of formal, informal and non-formal structures, upgrading of knowledge, skills and competences of the work force and promoting flexible learning opportunities,  among others, through career guidance and certification of the acquired qualifications  (76,2 million €)


Financial Inclusion Budget  (mil. €)


Implementation Scheduling

  1. Second Chance Schools (SDE)



INEDIVIM (Youth & LLL Foundation)



  1. Developing human resources capabilities in social welfare services with an emphasis on Church structures


Pastoral Training Foundation of the Archbishopric of Athens (ΙΠΕ-ΙΑΑ)


  1. Lifelong Learning Centers (KDVM) – New Phase (Planning and Implementation of Lifelong Learning Programmes)


INEDIVIM (Youth & LLL Foundation)



  1. Certification  of  Attainment in Greek by development of material and implementation of educational Programmes for foreign incarcerated individuals, Roma and Muslims in detention centres*


Centre of Greek Language (CGL) with co-beneficiary the ESPA Strategic Structure of the Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights











INVESTMENT PRIORITY 10.4: Improving the relevance of education and training systems with the labour market, facilitating transition  from education to work and enhancing vocational education and training systems and quality through mechanisms for anticipating skill needs, adjusting study programmes and the establishment and development of work-based learning and apprenticeship schemes, including the dual learning systems.  (Budget: 313,3 mil. €)

Particular Objective 10.4.1: Raising the number of των pupils/students/graduates  of Apprenticeship programmes 


Financial Inclusion Budget  (mil. €)


Implementation Scheduling

1.Apprenticeship in EPAL, SEK and IEK


ESPA Strategic Structure-Education Sector


2.Teachers/Trainers Training in Apprenticeship Issues


Institute of Educational Policy


3. Information Technology System for the Support of Apprenticeship*




4. Upgrading of the content of studies in Upper Secondary Vocational Education and the Post- Secondary Apprenticeship Class -Year


Institute of Educational Policy


5. Governance of Systems for Vocational Education & Training and adoption of a system for monitoring the implementation of the Strategy of Vocational Education & Training


ESPA Strategic Structure-Education Sector


6. A New Start for Vocational Upper Secondary Schools (EPAL) – Support of EPAL school units


ESPA Strategic Structure-Education Sector


7. Support & Management of the Action Plan of the Act: “A New Start for EPAL”


Science Centre and Technology Museum NOESIS


8. A New Start for EPAL, Implementation of Training


Institute of Educational Policy









* Specified Action, with publicized call

As regards the budget of co-funded work, for instance that of SDE, the number of beneficiaries is taken into account and not the performance of units.

Within the framework of the Operational Programme HRDELL (in the liability of the Ministry of Labour) the following indicative key actions are implemented:

Programmes targeted to link training with work-based learning and occupation in leading-edge sectors of the Greek economy which lead to validation

Professional Training vouchers for the unemployed in sectors of economic activity where occupation is guaranteed.

Fees paid by learners

Lifelong Learning in public institutions is free of charge. 

As of 2013-2014, for the first time, public Vocational Training Institutes (IEK) offer free of charge attendance to anyone interested in the specialisations offered (law 4186/2013). It is pointed out that the law 4763/2020 gives the possibility to the public I.E.K. to introduce, as a right of registration, the payment, during the initial registration by the trainees of a lump sum, which is reimbursed in full, after the successful completion of their studies. The amount, any exceptions from its payment as well as the manner and procedure of payment and refund of the amount will be determined by a relevant Joint Ministerial Decision.

In addition, the trainees of KEDIVIM may pay tuition fees, in case the program of KEDIVIM is not financed as foreseen by the existing provisions. The Council of KEDIVIM sets the amount of tuition fees.

The students of the Hellenic Open University pay tuition fees of approximately €500 per thematic unit for undergraduate programmes and €650 for postgraduate programmes, depending on the modules they choose (from 1 to 12 per annum).

Tuition fees in private IEKs vary, according to the Institution.

Financial support for learners

The trainees of IEK can carry out internships or apprenticeships in public bodies and companies under the responsibility of the IEK they attend. The internship can be paid or subsidized while the apprenticeship is paid or subsidized. National or EU resources may fund internships and apprenticeships.

Also, for the completion of the training in the public IEK scholarships can be awarded to trainees based on social and economic criteria.

The apprentices of the Post-Secondary Year - Apprenticeship Class are insured under the Electronic National Social Security Agency (e-ΕΦΚΑ) for the period of apprenticeship, and their insurance period is pensionable. The apprentice's remuneration for the period of apprenticeship is set equal to 95% of the minimum wage of the unskilled worker. Apprentices of the Post-Secondary Year - Apprenticeship Class continue to receive, during the apprenticeship, allowances they are entitled to receive, as well as pensions, and continue to be considered protected family members.

For the trainees of the public IEK and of the Post-Secondary Year - Apprenticeship Class the issuance of health certificates and the medical procedures required for internships and apprenticeships in workplaces are done free of charge by public hospitals or by doctors contracted with the Public or with social security institutions if the trainees are not directly or indirectly insured. The State also covers the costs of medical and hospital care of the trainees, who had an accident while practicing in a laboratory, used by the public IEK or in the workplace, in so far as such costs are not covered by direct or indirect insurance.

The Hellenic Open University (HOU) awards excellence scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate studies every academic year. In addition, HOU grants scholarships pertaining to total or partial fee waiver; such scholarships are granted based on a combination of economic, social and academic criteria.

Other measures of financial support for adults are the following:

  1. According to law 3879/2010, incentives are adopted for the development of Lifelong Learning and the updating of the knowledge, skills and competences of the human resources of the country. These incentives include:
  • The launch of individual training accounts with the involvement of both employer and employee. The State can also participate financially in such accounts.
  • Individual learning accounts of employees for attending continuing education and training programmes.
  • Connection of Lifelong Learning bodies’ evaluation with their funding.
  1. The vocational training of employees and unemployed through OAED programmes, such as:
  • The programme LAEK (0,24%). Every company pays mandatorily to the Account for Employment and Professional Training (LAEK) of OAED, an employer’s contribution of 0,24% on the annual total gross earnings of its employees.
  • Integrated Plans of Structural Adjustment of Companies and Employees. These are about KEK programmes of OAED targeted to employees and unemployed and concern the structural adjustment of employees and companies within the economic crisis. They also include the support of companies with the aim of responding to the new conditions emerging from the economic crisis and the implementation of new technologies.
  • The Training Voucher system for training and practical training. The Training voucher allows actual beneficiaries to receive training from accredited providers and select themselves the service and the provider.

Subsidies for private providers

The trainees may themselves bear the cost of their education and training. Private education includes the following:

  • Private Vocational Training Institutes (Institouta Epangelmatikis Katartisis - IEK)
  • Private Lifelong Learning Centers (Kentra Dia Viou Mathisis)
  • Colleges (Kollegia)

The private institutions of adult education can manage different resources and funds. The supervision, monitoring and accountability are conducted by the corresponding sources of funding. This means that Lifelong Learning bodies that receive public funding are evaluated according to their goals attainment set in the corresponding programme. Hence, their efficiency determines their funding.

The procedure and circumstances for funding Lifelong Learning bodies are specified by decision of the Minister of Education and depending on the case, competent Minister (law 3879/2010).

The afore-mentioned bodies are themselves responsible for determining and collecting the applicable tuition fees.