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Main providers


8.Adult education and training

8.3Main providers

Last update: 27 November 2023

The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs oversees several public bodies that provide adult education and training. These include:

  1. Second Chance Schools (Scholeia defteris efkairias known as SDE): These schools are designed for adults that have not completed compulsory education. There are currently 66 Second Chance Schools (and 22 Branches) across Greece, as well as located within correctional institutions.
  2. Vocational Training Institutes (Institouta Epangelmatikis Katartisis known as IEK): These institutes offer initial vocational training to graduates of formal, non-compulsory secondary education, whether from general or vocational upper secondary schools. There are 126 public IEKs overseen by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs.
  3. Public Lifelong Learning Centres (Dimosia Kentra Dia Viou Mathisis known): These centres can be established to offer continuous vocational training, reskilling, upskilling, general adult education, vocational guidance, and lifelong learning counselling. The framework for the establishment, licensing, and operation of KDVM was set by Law 4763/2020. Prior to this, lifelong learning programs were typically carried out at the municipal level using European funding, rather than through solid public structures.
  4. Centers for Training and Life Long Learning/KEDIVIM within Higher Education Institutions, which form Institutionsal units that ensure coordination and multidisciplinary cooperation concerning the development of programs for training, continuous education and training and life long learning. Centers for Training and Life Long Learning operate in 23 Higher Education Institutions.   
  5. The Hellenic Open University (supervised by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs)  is the body that that provides long-distance higher education studies (undergraduate, postgraduate, and training) over time by developing and making use of the appropriate materials and teaching methods. More information on the above-mentioned providers is provided in section 8.4.

The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs allowed for the use of distance learning methods during the COVID-19 pandemic for its educational institutions. In addition to these institutions, there are other providers of lifelong learning programs that operate at national, regional, or local levels. These providers include organizations that offer general adult education, vocational counseling, and non-formal learning to public sector employees. Examples of such organizations are the National Centre for Public Administration and Local Government (EKDDA), the Institute for Small Businesses of the General Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen and Merchants (IME-GSEBEE), and various bodies established by trade unions. However, this field remains largely uncharted according to experts.