Through bilateral agreements with other countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs and other state bodies, signs educational-cultural agreements and executive programmes; hence, they offer the institutional framework for the development of educational and cultural relations with the countries in question.
As regards educational issues, special emphasis is placed on the pupil, student, teacher, researcher and academic staff mobility development, as well as the experiences, information, educational and cultural elements exchange.
Bilateral educational agreements signed by Greece with third countries are as follows (the date in parentheses refers to the year in which the bilateral agreements were ratified by law under Greek law): Azerbaijan (1999), Egypt (1957), Ethiopia (1955), Albania (2000), Algeria (1991), Argentina (1977), Armenia (1997), Australia (1981), Venezuela (1995), Vietnam (2011) Brazil (2004), Georgia (1997), Guinea (1981), Bosnia (2004), United Arab Emirates (1977), United States of America (1991), Japan (1982), India (1962), Indonesia (2005), Jordan (1979), Iraq (1980), Iran (1968), Israel (1994), Kazakhstan (2007), Canada (2000), China (1979), Colombia (1993), S. Korea (1970), Cuba (1986), Kuwait (1985), Lebanon (2003), Libya (2007), Morocco (1996), Mauritania (1979), Mexico (1984), Mongolia (1993), Moldova (2011) Bahrain (1977), Burundi (1985), Norway (1980), S. Africa (2009), Oman (1979), Uzbekistan (1998), Ukraine (1999), Uruguay (1963), Pakistan (1979), Palestine (2001), Panama (1998), Paraguay (2004), Peru (1993) Russia (1995), Senegal (1984), Serbia (1959), Seychelles (1986), Sudan (1985), Syria (1979), Thailand (2005), Turkey (2001), Tunisia (1991), Yemen (1993) Philippines (1998), Chile (1967), San Marino (2018).
Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), the National Library of Greece and the Hellenic General Sate Archives also conclude bilateral agreements/memorandums with respective foreign institutions/bodies.
Greece participates in the international practice of eliminating the negative stereotypes and inaccuracies from the school textbooks of history, geography, culture, language and economy between neighbouring countries, both within regional organisations and initiatives and within the framework of bilateral educational agreements. Relevant provisions have been included in bilateral programmes with Albania, Turkey and Northern Macedonia.
As a European Union member state, Greece participates in actions deriving from the bilateral agreement between the European Union and China, such as the bilateral protocols signed between Greek HEIs and relevant Institutions in China.
Cooperation and participation in worldwide programmes and organisations
Global cooperation is achieved through Greece's participation in the European Union, as well as in international organisations active in the field of education and training.
The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs participates in the Education Policy Committee (Education Policy Committee/EDPC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
It also collaborates with the Organization in the Programme of Indicators of Educational Systems (INES), which develops indicators for education based on relevant statistics and studies. The results of the program are published mainly in the publication titled «Education at a Glance».
The implementation of the objectives of the INES program are pursued via:
- The “INES Working Party”, which monitors, supervises and coordinates the statistical work, the development of the indicators and the quantitative analysis, in accordance with the specifications and priorities set by the Education Policy Committee.
- The "INES NESLI" Network, which develops and collects all the required data and information at system level regarding the operation of education systems.
- The "INES LSO" Network, which develops and provides the information required by the Education Policy Committee with regard to the labor, financial and social results of education.
In addition, the Hellenic Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs participates in the Network for Preschool Education and Care (ECEC), within the framework of the «Quality beyond regulations» program, as well as the «Strength through Diversity: Education for Inclusive Societies» program.
It also participates in the PISA Programme (Program for International Student Assessment/PISA), which aims to monitor the effectiveness of the education systems of the participating countries, in terms of student performance. Based on a commonly formulated and internationally accepted framework, participating countries can compare their students' performance with that of students from other countries in text comprehension, mathematics and science. The PISA research and the analysis of its outcomes are carried out by the Institute of Educational Policy (ΙΕP).
Lastly, the Greek Ministry participates in a number of OECD studies, such as «Education Policy Outlook», «Skills Outlook» and «Education at a Glance».
Council of Europe
Within the framework of the Council of Europe, Greece participates in the Education Policy Committee.
Moreover, the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs participates in the following programmes of the Council of Europe:
ETINED (Ethics, Transparency, Integrity in Education)
The ETINED programme on Ethics, Transparency and Integrity in Education, which started in 2015, engages experts from the member states of the CoE with a view to exchanging expertise and good practices in fight against corruption and fraud at all levels of education and research so as to provide quality education for all.
The aim of the program is to cultivate and consolidate a democratic and participatory culture in all educational institutions of the CoE Member States, based on the principles of transparency, integrity, justice and equality, through the creation of a framework of principles with which all participants are committed to complying.
More information is available at the following link: https://www.coe.int/etined.
European Qualifications Passport for Refugees
Greece participates in the pilot programme for the recognition of refugee qualifications. The primary purpose of the programme is to record the academic qualification of refugees, even when these cannot be adequately documented through an evaluation process which includes the completion of a questionnaire and an interview with authorised assessors.
This does not constitute a formal act of recognition and does not give access to courses or professions with specific requirements, such as the highly regulated professions (doctors, dentists, lawyers, engineers).
Greece participates in the programme since 2018. During this period, approximately 360 interviews have been conducted in Greece while 291 passports have also been issued.
European Centre of Contemporary Languages (ECML/CELV)
The European Center for Modern Languages is a Council of Europe Organization which studies, plans and proposes measures to its thirty-five Member States so that they are enabled to further enhance language education in cooperation with the European Commission and other Organizations (OECD, UNESCO, etc.). ECML, responding to the requirements of our modern world, aims to promote quality language education for all, based on the principles of the Council of Europe.
Greece is among the eight founding members of the Organization, which was created in 1994. It participates through its representatives from the Ministry in the implementation of the four-year programs of the Center, in the framework of which training and other activities for language education are organized in the country, which are addressed to teachers and executives of all levels of education. The Center also provides training to individual teachers and/or education staff at the Center's headquarters in Graz, Austria.
More information is available at the following link: https://www.ecml.at/Aboutus/ECMLMemberStates/tabid/149/language/en-GB/Default.aspx.
Observatory on History Teaching in Europe
The "Observatory on History Teaching in Europe" was established in October 2020, during the Greek Presidency of the Council of Ministers of the Council of Europe. It consists of sixteen Member States, with one more country participating as an observer.
The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs participates in the "Observatory" via its representatives and contributes to its work, for the promotion of quality education and democratic culture and understanding. Its purpose is to promote practices that encourage the teaching of History in accordance with the principles of the Council of Europe, as described in the relevant Conventions (European Convention on Human Rights and European Cultural Convention). In addition, through the drafting of relevant reports, important data is collected on developments in the teaching of History in Europe.
More information is available at the following link: https://www.coe.int/en/web/observatory-history-teaching/home.
In the framework of the United Nations (UN), the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs participates in the drafting of ministerial reports on conventions and UN covenants signed by Greece and in the exams of the country to the UN on issues related to the responsibilities of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs.
It also cooperates with co-competent ministries and stakeholders in the context of the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Development Agenda 2030. In addition, the Ministry of Education participates in the working group for the preparation and monitoring of the implementation of the national action plan on human rights.
The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs participates in the steering committee that was set up for supervising the implementation of the strategy on education for the sustainable development of UNECE. In this context, it presents progress reports and good practices for the strategy’s implementation.
Greece participates in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and monitors the Human Dimension Implementation and Human Rights (ODIHR).
Greece participates in the work of the general conference of UNESCO held every two years. Ιn 2015, it was elected as a member of the UNESCO executive council until 2019.
Furthermore, within the context of UNESCO, Greece participates in the "ASPnet - Associated Schools Project Network", whose members (pre-school, primary, secondary schools) work for the promotion of the 17 sustainable development goals, and in particular goal 4 related with Education and "Education 2030". More specifically, they design programmes on education and sustainable development, education for global citizenship, peace and human rights, intercultural dialogue, cultural heritage and intangible cultural heritage. Schools of the network participated in the two-year (2016-2018) UNESCO pilot project on the "Holistic School Approach to Climatic Change", as well as in the projects "Sports Values" and "Ocean Literacy", while between 2019-2021 one School of the Network participated in the joint program of the European Union and UNESCO for the integration of intangible cultural heritage in school education, which resulted in a Guide for Teachers.
More information is available under 13.4 Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Preschool and School Education.
Moreover, Greek higher education nstitutions (HEIs) have established and operate UNESCO chairs. More information is available under 13.5 Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education.
Regional initiatives and organisations of the wider balkan and mediterranean area
Greece participates in Regional Initiatives and Organizations of the wider Balkan and Mediterranean area.
In particular, it participates in the Organization for Economic Cooperation of the Black Sea Countries (BSEC), through various Working Groups, each focusing on a different subject. The Hellenic Ministry participates in the Working Group on Education and works towards the promotion of initiatives, collaborations and exchanges in education, in order to promote the mutual acquaintance and cooperation of young people from the Black Sea region.
From 2007 to 2022, the Ministry of Education has repeatedly assumed the Presidency and coordination of this Working Group.
More information is available at the following link: http://www.bsec-organization.org/ .