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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Initial education for teachers working in early childhood and school education


9.Teachers and education staff

9.1Initial education for teachers working in early childhood and school education

Last update: 9 June 2022

Educational officials of the country, whether appointed in, Primary or Secondary Education, should be graduates of Higher Education, holding at least a first cycle degree. Primary school teachers graduate from a Higher Education Institution of the University Sector, whereas Secondary school teachers graduate from a Higher Education Institution of the University or Technological Sector, holding at least a first cycle degree. The same applies to teachers of Foreign Languages, Music, Arts and Physical Education, who receive initial training in University departments which provide education related to the subjects they teach.
In public child and infant care centres of ECEC, which is not included in the formal educational system, teachers are graduates of Departments of Early Childhood Education and Care.  
For the staffing of public infant care centres (vrefikoi stathmoi), child care centres (paidikoi stathmoi) and infant-child care centres (vrefonipiakoi stathmoi), the state does not hire pre-primary school teachers (ref. no. 17232/8-3-2019 circular of the Ministry of the Interior).  Pre-primary teachers are HE graduates whose academic field corresponds to pre-primary schools (nipiagogeia) addressing children aged 4- to 5. In the Greek system nipiagogeia are structures belonging to compulsory primary education and not ECEC. Therefore, as a minimum condition, infant care centre nursery assistants must possess a Vocational Upper Secondary Education Leaving Certificate or a graduate degree/diploma/leaving certificate of Post-secondary non tertiary Education (IEK), or a certificate of an Apprenticeship School of the Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) with relevant expertise.

The structures provided for Special Education are staffed by Primary and Secondary school teachers who, as appropriate:

  • are graduates of the Pedagogical Department of Special Education at the University of Thessaly with an orientation degree as a teacher or nursery assistant or graduates of the Department of Educational & Social Policy at the University of Macedonia with an orientation degree in education for people with special needs;
  • have a degree in Special Education – EAE; 
  • have a postgraduate qualification or PhD in Special Education or School Psychology;
  • have a two year postgraduate teacher training in Special Education, offered by a national teacher-training institute (didaskaleio);
  • have an attendance certificate from an annual training-specialization seminar in Special Education (EAE) (of 400 hours duration in order to be included in the waiting appointment/employment list). The certificate and seminar should be offered by a HEI or another public sector body, which is supervised from the Ministry of Education;
  • have at least one year of teaching experience (10 months) in the EAE (in order to be included in the waiting appointment list);
  • are educators and parents of children with a disability rate of over 67% (in order to be included in the waiting appointment list).

Institutions, level and models of training

The prospective teachers of Early Childhood and Primary Education, which includes  Pre-primary school (Nipiagogeio) and Primary school (Dimotiko), are graduates of Pedagogical Departments of Pre-primary and Primary Education respectively, operating at universities across the country. 

  • Pre-primary teachers' initial training (Education for nipiagogeia) is provided by Pedagogical Departments of Pre-primary Education  of the Universities of Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras, Ioannina, Thrace, Crete, Aegean, Thessaly and Western Macedonia. 
  • Primary teachers' initial training is provided by the Pedagogical Departments of Primary Education established at the Universities of Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras, Ioannina, Thrace, Crete, Aegean, Thessaly and Western Macedonia and in the Department of Special Education of the University of Thessaly for Special Education teachers in Pre-primary and Primary Education.

The initial training provided to prospective Pre-primary and Primary Education teachers, which includes, among others, teaching-oriented courses, teaching in the classroom, as well as the study of various teaching methods, is integrated is attendance comprising pedagogical training in addition to theoretical education (concurrent model).

Regarding the teaching staff in both compulsory and non-compulsory Secondary Education, prospective teachers receive their initial training at University Departments of the country, which provide studies relevant to the subjects included in Secondary Education curricula.  The majority of these departments belong to the so-called Teacher Education Faculties. 

More specifically, Teacher Education Faculties are university departments whose graduates are directly appointed in Secondary Education schools (some specialisations may be appointed in Primary Education as well), according to the decrees of Law 1566/1985 as in force, without requiring additional degrees or pedagogical training certificates.  This is because, parallel to their studies at the corresponding university departments, they also receive pedagogical training (concurrent model). 

Teacher Education Faculties include the university departments where teachers of the following specialisations are trained: PE01 Theology, PE02 Greek Language and Literature, PE03 Mathematics, PE04 Physics, Foreign Languages (PE06 English, PE05 French, PE07 German, PE034 Italian and PE040 Spanish), PE08 Arts, PE11 Physical Education, PE80Economics, PE79 Music, PE91 Theatre Studies, PE33 Methodology, Philosophy and History of Science, PE86 Information Technology at University (L. 4521/2018) and the School of Pedagogical and Technological Education (ASPETE). 
According to law 4186/2013, ASPETE consists of the Pedagogical Department, the Department of Electrical Engineering Educators, the Department of Electronic Engineering Educators, the Department of Mechanical Engineering Educators and the Department of Civil Engineering Educators.

Most Pedagogical Departments and Teacher Education Faculties devote sufficient time to practical training in addition to theoretical education through teaching in real class conditions, or through participation in relevant laboratory exercises.
However, graduates of Higher Education Institutions, Universities or Technological Sector faculties that do not belong to primary or secondary education Teacher Education Faculties are considered as non - Teacher Education Faculty graduates.
Pursuant to Law 4589/2019, and as supplemented by law 4823/2021, appointment or employment in public education positions for teachers or members of the Special Education Staff (EEP), pedagogical and teaching Proficiency is not a necessary but an extra formal qualification, that can be certified before or after the appointment (consecutive model) of the prospective teacher (see also Unit 9.2 “Entry to the profession”).
Consequently, graduates of non- Education Faculties, can acquire pedagogical and teaching proficiency in special education either during their studies or after the completion of their studies (consecutive model), by successful attendance of special training programmes (see also Unit 9.2 “Pedagogical and Teaching Proficiency”). 
Initial Education for Pre-primary, Primary and Secondary school teachers who attend Teacher Education Faculties lasts four years.  Initial education is extended by a year for Music teachers, graduates of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) Music Studies Departments, Arts teachers, mainly painting, who hold a diploma of the School of Fine Arts (ASKT).  An extra year also applies to graduates of ASPETE programmes, the attendance of which requires half a semester for the completion of a thesis and apprenticeship in their field of specialisation. 

Admission requirements

All graduates of General Upper Secondary Schools (GEL) and Vocational Upper Secondary Schools (EPAL) are eligible for admission to pedagogical, teacher or non-teacher training faculties of Higher Education. Moreover, graduates of other Departments or Faculties and candidates of special categories are also eligible for admission to Higher Education Departments or Faculties (see Unit 7.2.1 “Admission Requirements”). 


Curriculum, level of specialisation and learning outcomes

The curricula of all Higher Education Institutions, including those attended by prospective teachers of Primary (Pre-primary teachers and Primary school teachers) and Secondary Education (as well as nursery staff of public children and infant care centres), is are compiled by the Universities themselves. 
The curriculum includes compulsory courses, optional courses and compulsory optional courses.  Each semester corresponds to a specific number of courses in such a way as to ensure their chronological sequence and the interdependence of the subjects. 
Furthermore, the curriculum includes:

  • a description of both the theoretical and practical parts of each course;
  • teaching goals per course;
  • learning outcomes (the expected knowledge and skills that students may acquire through the courses included in the curriculum).

Among other provisions  Law N. 4521/2018 foresees that the Senate gives approval to the curriculum content, after a proposal by the Sector, with the Department Assembly’s consent.

The recent Law Ν. 4653/2020 determines that the Evaluation and Certification Council (SAP) certifies no later than every five (5) years the quality of the curricula for:
- all three cycles of Higher Education, 
-of Life Long Learning programmes, 
-Distance Learning programmes, 
-of digital learning programmes, 
-of collaboration programmes with other educational or research institutions in Greece or in other countries as well as 
-the quality of new curricula, 
before their implementation and at the request of the responsible HEI and the correspondent academic unit.
The curricula of Pedagogical Departments and Teacher Education Faculties include, apart from lessons related to each teaching subject, pedagogical courses and/or psychology courses. 
The teaching and general education of prospective teachers is performed using a combination of methods, such as:

  • theoretical teaching
  • practical exercises 
  • written assignments
  • workshops etc. 

Teaching examples are also offered, which enable students to attend courses in actual classroom conditions.  With regard to skills and knowledge related to school unit management, training is not provided in the first - cycle programmes of Pedagogical Departments’ and Teacher Education Faculties’ curricula, but it is primarily a subject of second-cycle graduate programmes or of training programmes aimed at teachers already serving as education officials.
Special subjects teachers, most of whom receive initial training in Teacher Education Faculties, like teachers of Foreign Languages, Physical Education, Arts, Music and Information Technology are entitled to serve as permanent or substitute teachers in Primary and Secondary Education, where the subject they teach is included in the curricula of the respective level.
The Departments of Primary and Pre-primary Education award a single degree.  The principle of specialisation has not been formally established for Pre-primary and Primary Education teachers, whereas, regarding Secondary Education, teachers are classified into sectors depending on their field of specialisation.  The courses assigned to them have a direct correlation with their qualifications and the degree acquired during their initial training.  First (A) assignment subjects help teachers fill their compulsory schedule. Second (B) assignment subjects help them either add on their compulsory schedule or serve educational needs.

Teacher educators

During the initial training of prospective teachers, the teaching at all universities, and therefore also at Pedagogical Departments, Teacher Education Faculties and the School of Pedagogical and Technological Education (ASPETE) is performed by the Teaching and Scientific Personnel (DEP) of the corresponding University Department or by members of the Teaching Personnel of the respective HE departments of the technological sector (TEI). The requirements for the election of DEP members are:

  • a doctoral degree,
  • relevance of the subject of the position either to the subject of the PhD thesis or to the research or scientific work of the candidate. 

To guide and support the newly appointed teacher, law 3848/2010 provided for the appointment of a mentor.  The mentor is appointed by the relevant school advisor in collaboration with the head teacher of the school unit.  As regards qualifications, the law states that the mentor must have a rich educational and teaching experience and serve as a teacher in the same school unit or school group. This provision, however, has not been implemented yet.

For the newly appointed teacher, according to law 3528/2007, the introductory education is mandatory, both for the service and for the employee. It takes place during the first two years after the appointment of the employee and aims to familiarize the employee with the objects of his service and his duties as a civil servant in general.

Qualifications, evaluation and certificates

The Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection (ASEP), is an independent authority responsible for verifying the accurate implementation of the provisions on civil service and education staff appointment and employment.
Vacancies for the organic position of Primary and Secondary Education teacher, of Special Education Staff (EEP) and Special Education Assistant Staff (EBP), as well as the functional requirements of Primary and Secondary Education, are covered with staff recruitments carried out by the Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection (ASEP) based on the criterion of priority (law 4589/2019) (see 9.2 Unit “Entry to the Profession”).

The first cycle degree issued by the Pedagogic Departments of Pre-primary Education, the Pedagogic Department of Primary Education and Teacher Education Faculties, allows holders teacher candidates to participate in the ranking lists of their specialization for teacher appointments. Responsible for these processes and for the appointment of permanent teachers as well as for the employment of substitute and part-time working teachers in Primary and Secondary Education is the Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection (ASEP).  First cycle degree holders, graduates of University Departments that are not included in Pedagogical or Teacher Education Faculties, are also granted this right after obtaining a Pedagogical and Teaching Proficiency Certificate, which can be obtained during or after their first cycle studies (see also Unit 9.1 “Institutions, level and models of training” as well as 9.2 “Entry to the profession” and “Pedagogical and Teaching Proficiency”).
Accordingly, in order to be recruited as pedagogues in public child and infant centres, graduation from first cycle HE studies at a Higher Education Institution of the Technological Sector (TEI) (specialization of nursery worker) is a prerequisite. For assistant educators, no further specialisation is required other than that received during their studies in either Higher Vocational Secondary Education or Post-secondary non-tertiary Education.

Alternative training pathways

A. The initial training of Pre-primary and Primary Education teachers, leading to  public school appointment at the respective level of education, it may also be certified by the following titles:

  • a Pedagogical Academy Degree or Nursery schools degree on the condition that graduates hold the equivalence with HE degrees in pedagogy (Presidential Decree 130/1990). 
  •  a degree from a foreign University training Pre-primary teachers/ Primary education teachers, accompanied by a confirmation of equivalence and correspondence with the respective degrees of home diplomas. The confirmation of equivalence and correspondence may be issued as follows:
    • by the Hellenic National Recognition and Information Center (DOATAP), 
    • a decision for recognition of professional qualifications according to the Presidential Decree 38/2010, as supplemented by the provisions of law 4763/2020.
    • a decision for the recognition of professional equivalence of a HEI’s relevant degree for teacher specialization, issued by the Council for the Recognition of Professional Qualifications (SAEP).
  • Degrees from countries outside the EU and an additional certificate of successful attendance of a Special Re-training Programme from a Greek University Department of Pre-primary or Primary Education.  

B. The initial training of Secondary Education teachers, leading to school appointment at the respective level of education, may also be certified by the following titles:

  • A university degree for the respective teacher specialisations. If the title is obtained at a foreign university it should accompanied by a confirmation of equivalence and correspondence with the respective degrees of home diplomas (see above) 
  • A degree from the Hellenic Open University (EAP), however only for specific teacher specialisations as for example  Physicians or Economists as well as graduates of the programme “Spanish Language and Culture”. Teachers of the above specializations can work in the public education sector as teachers. (Ministerial Decision 63486/Ε2/12.04.2017).

The holders of a Primary or Secondary Education teacher degree from a university abroad, must also have a school leaving certificate:

  • from a Hellenic six grade Lower Secondary School, 
  • a Hellenic Upper Secondary Education School or 
  • an equivalent Hellenic school leaving certificate. 

Teacher candidates who do not have this leaving certificate or any other Hellenic degree or/and a Hellenic masters degree from a domestic HEI, it is required that they have:

  • excellent knowledge of the Greek language (level C2) certified by the Greek Language Center or
  • a Certificate of Greek language proficiency issued by the committee of Law 1566/1985.

It is also required that foreign primary and secondary education teachers from countries outside the EU obtain the Greek citizenship.