Skip to main content
European Commission logo
EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Fundamental principles and national policies


2.Organisation and governance

2.1Fundamental principles and national policies

Last update: 27 November 2023

Pursuant to article 16 of the Constitution, arts, science, research and teaching are offered for free.  The State is obliged to develop and promote them.

Education is a basic mission for the State and its purpose is the moral, intellectual, professional and physical training of Greeks, the development of a national and religious consciousness and their formation as free and responsible citizens.

Education is provided for free to all Greeks on all levels, at state educational institutions.  The State provides financial assistance to students, who distinguish themselves as well as to those in need of assistance or special protection, according to their abilities.

The number of years of compulsory education cannot be less than 9.

Higher education is provided exclusively by institutions which are fully self-governed legal entities of public law.  These institutions are under the supervision of the State, are entitled to financial assistance from the State and operate according to the laws related to their organisations.  The establishment of higher education schools by private individuals is prohibited.

Freedom of religious conscience is inviolable. The enjoyment of civil rights and liberties does not depend on the individual’s religious beliefs (article 13 of the Constitution).

The commitment of the State towards a society of equality and egalitarianism (Article 4 of the Constitution) is reflected on the educational system that seeks to avoid preferential treatment and any differentiation among pupils/students, teachers, schools or areas, other than on the basis of objective criteria.

Reforms in education are currently dictated by a twofold reality: firstly, the rapid changes taking place in society, epitomized by a shift to the age of knowledge and the digital era, and secondly, the current situation in the country itself.  Any educational reform can be thus understood as these two realities' byproduct.

National strategy is driven by the principles of decentralisation, democracy, democratic participation, transparency, equality, solidarity, mitigation of social inequalities and evaluation. Evaluation, in particular, is not punitive but it is rather understood as assessment and feedback on the programmes, institutions and teaching process.

Autonomy, responsibility and accountability are also included in the fundamental principles that aim to enhance these reforms at all levels of education, concerning all issues from curricula to governance.

Primary and secondary education

As defined in law 1566/1985, the objective of primary and secondary education is to contribute to a holistic, harmonious and balanced development of the pupils/students mental and psychosomatic skills so that, regardless of gender and origin, they are able to evolve into integrated personalities and live creatively.

In particular, primary and secondary education helps students to:

  1. Evolve into free, responsible, democratic citizens that defend national independence, the nation’s territorial integrity and democracy, to be inspired by the love for man, life and nature and be driven by loyalty towards their country and the fundamental principles of the orthodox Christian tradition.  Freedom of religious conscience is inviolable.
  2. Nurture and develop mind and body, their talents, interests and skills.  To acquire, through school education, social identity and consciousness, to understand and comprehend the social value and equality of mental and manual labour.  To stay up-to-date and practise on making good use of a) the beneficial for humanity goods provided by modern civilization and b) the values of our tradition.
  3. Develop creative and critical thinking and understand the concept of collective effort and collaboration in order to take initiatives and participate responsibly in society’s progress and our country’s development.
  4. Understand the significance of art, science and technology, to respect human values and to safeguard and promote culture.
  5. Develop the spirit of friendship and cooperation with all people on earth, aspiring towards a better, just and peaceful world.

Higher education

The educational mission of higher education institutions, according to law 4957/2022, is as follows:

  1. To provide high quality, non-discriminatory and inclusive higher education, to produce and impart knowledge through teaching and research, to prepare students for its application in the professional and social field, to cultivate and promote science, arts and culture.
  2. To organise and offer first, second and third cycle studies, short courses and lifelong learning programmes.
  3. To apply modern teaching methods, including distance learning, with emphasis on interdisciplinarity and innovative research at the highest level of quality according to internationally recognised criteria.
  4. To develop students' abilities and skills with critical thinking, to ensure the professional integration of graduates by providing them with the necessary knowledge and skills for their scientific and professional career, to create the necessary conditions for the emergence of new researchers and the attraction of young scientists, as well as to respond to the needs of society, labour market and professional fields.
  5. to conduct innovative research and promote the dissemination of knowledge to society, as well as innovation and the exploitation of research results, in accordance with the principles of scientific and moral ethics and sustainable development, social cohesion and non-discrimination, Universal Design and digital transformation. Also to contribute to national development priorities in line with the National Strategy for Research, Technological Development and Innovation and the National Strategy for Smart Specialisation,
  6. To promote cooperation with other Greek universities, research and technological institutions in Greece and abroad, as well as with public, European and international organisations and productive bodies.
  7. To develop partnerships and alliances with higher education institutions abroad, creating joint study programmes, enhancing mobility of students, teaching and other staff of higher education institutions and researchers, contributing to the construction of the European Higher Education and Research Area.
  8. To contribute to the development of responsible citizens, capable of responding to the demands of all fields of human activity with scientific, professional and cultural competence and responsibility, with respect for human rights and the values of justice, freedom, democracy, social solidarity, peace and equality.
  9. To develop joint educational and research infrastructures in Greece and abroad for the promotion of education, research, technology and culture.

To fulfil their mission, HEIs are organised and operate according to regulations and practices that ensure complying with and defending, in particular, the following values:   

  1. Freedom in research and teaching
  2. Ethics in research and science
  3. Quality of education and their services
  4. Efficiency and effectiveness in managing their staff, resources and infrastructure
  5. Transparency and accountability of all their activities
  6. Impartiality in their work and decision-making
  7. Merit-based selection and advancement of their staff
  8. Gender equality, non-discrimination, universal design in every area of their competence or activity in order to ensure accessibility for teaching, administrative and other staff and for students with disabilities and special educational needs to infrastructure, physical and digital services, equipment and educational materials.

Lifelong learning

The first framework law for lifelong learning (law 3879/2010), as amended and in force, supports the development of Lifelong Learning through alternative educational routes, the networking of lifelong learning bodies and quality assurance in order to achieve:

  • Interconnection of lifelong learning with the labour market
  • Shaping of integrated personalities
  • Social and economic development, in general.

In recent years, Greece has made continued efforts to upgrade and improve quality in the educational system and lifelong learning programmes, whilst emphasising on facilitating accessibility for vulnerable social groups at all levels.

In particular, the principal objective is to design education and lifelong learning programmes that will provide the means for active participation in society, smooth integration into the labour market and tackling early school leaving, particularly with regard to vulnerable groups.

In accordance with the law 4763/2020, the governance principles of vocational education, training and lifelong learning, are among others:

  1. Common strategic planning of VET to meet the needs of the individual, the labour market and the Greek economy, in full.
  2. Direct connection of VET and LLL to the labour market with the effective involvement of social partners. 
  3. Reinforcement of the autonomy degree of VET units with the local community representatives playing an active role.
  4. Planning and implementation of comprehensive positive actions for young people, integrated into the overall strategy for upgrading their qualifications. 
  5. Certification of non-formal and informal learning outputs based on the labour market needs.