Brief historical account
Since 1929, when the first attempt to introduce adult education was made in Greece, a number of policies, strategies, bodies and structures have been activated with a view to widen the field.
The key dates that determine the development of adult education are summarised below:
- Since 1943 there have been moves for the promotion of popular education, first by establishing a relevant directorate at the Ministry of Education of that time and by an upgrading in 1983 which led to the General Secretariat of Popular Education.
- In 1984, the General Secretariat of Popular Education established the vocational training centres.
- In the early 1990s, Vocational Education and Training (VET) was already top priority in the political agenda, due to changes taking place in the global labour market and thanks to programme co-funding opportunities provided by the European Social Fund for young people and adults. Law 2009/1992 made provisions for establishing a National Vocational Education and Training System and the Organisation for Vocational Education and Training (OEEK), as well as the Vocational Training Institutes.
- In 1994, the National Centre for Vocational Guidance (EKEP) was established.
- In 1995, the Institute of Continuing Adult Education was founded. It was also responsible for the vocational training centres of the General Secretariat for Popular Education.
- In 1997 by law 2525/1997, second chance schools were established for adults who had not completed compulsory education and the National Centre for the Certification of Structures for Lifelong Learning (EKEPIS) was founded.
- In 2001, the General Secretariat for Popular Education was renamed to General Secretariat for Adult Education and undertook the planning, co-ordination and implementation of adult education activities and projects at national level (law 2909/2001).
- In 2003, adult education centres and schools for parents were founded.
- In 2008, the General Secretariat for Adult Education was renamed General Secretariat for Lifelong Learning and its governmental responsibility sector was extended (law 3699/2008).
- In 2010, the National Qualification Certification Body (EOPP) (law 3879/2010) was established.
- In 2011, the bodies EKEPIS and EKEP merged with EOPP which was renamed to National Organization for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP). In the same year, the Youth Institute and the Institute for Continuing Adult Education merged into the National Youth Foundation, which was renamed to Youth and Lifelong Learning Foundation. The organisation and operation of both bodies is defined by law 4115/2013.
- In 2014, the General Secretariat for Lifelong Learning and the General Secretariat for Youth were merged under the name General Secretariat for Lifelong Learning and Youth (presidential decree 114/2014).
- In 2020 law 4763/2020 attempts a holistic reform of Vocational Education and Training and Life Long Learning. At the same time the structures of the Secretariat General for Vocational Education and Training, Life Long Learning and Youth/Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs are reorganized to support the new policies.
Nowadays, at central level, the Secretariat General for Vocational Education and Training, Life Long Learning and Youth/Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs plans, coordinates, supervises and assesses policies, acts and programs in the field of Vocational Education and Training, l Life Long Learning and Youth, without discriminations and exclusions. Law 4763/2020 attempts a holistic reform of Vocational Education and Training and Life Long Learning with three linchpins:
- the common planning of Vocational Education and Training and Life Long Learning,
- linking Vocational Education and Training and Life Long Learning with the real needs of the labour market,
- upgrading the provided Vocational Education and Training.
Within this framework, new structures for the governance of Vocational Education and Training and Life Long Learning are constituted:
- The Central Board for Vocational Education and Training (KSEEK): its mission lies in submitting proposals and suggestion to the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs for planning the national policies with regard to issues of Vocational Education and Training and Life Long Learning. It mainly aims at promoting knowledge, viable development, capitalizing human force abilities and linking education with labour market and employment. The Board/KSEEK constitutes the main -at central level- governance structure and it has a role to play concerning the flexibility and openness of the VET system.
- The Boards for Connection with Production and Labour Market (SSPAE): its mission lies in submitting proposals and suggestion to The Central Board for Vocational Education and Training (KSEEK) for issues of VET, and in particular, for the domains and specializations that have to be available at the public Institutions for Vocational Training (IEK), Post-Secondary – Apprenticeship Programme, public Schools for Training (ΕΣΚ), OAED Vocational Apprenticeship Schools, as well as the special courses, programs and activities, above the authorized set of courses. The boards operate at regional level in order to decentralize the governance system for VET. They have a regulatory role at regional and local level.
- The Central Scientific Committee (ΚΕΕ): its mission lies in providing scientific research, study and validation for issues of improving the quality and efficiency of VET and LLL programs.
Law 4763/2020 attempts to treat several misfunctions, such as overlaps between educative structures and pathways, the absence of post-lower secondary level structures, the existence of obsolete specialisations and training guides, the inadequate connection with the real needs of the labour market (including the absence of social partners’ engagement in planning VET), the lack of credibility concerning the validation of professional qualifications, as well as the jerkiness in organizing the continuous vocational training provided at the Centres for LLL (ΚΔΒΜ).
At the exploratory memorandum a quantitative target is set concerning the percentage of adults (ages: 24-64 years old of the active population) that participate in VET programs the last 4 weeks to raise the percentage to 6% within three years against the percentage 3,9% (period 2019-2020).