This chapter provides a thematic and chronological overview of national reforms and policy developments since 2021.
The introduction of the chapter describes the overall education strategy and the key objectives across the whole education system. It also looks at how the education reform process is organised and who are the main actors in the decision-making process.
The section on ongoing reforms and policy developments groups reforms in the following broad thematic areas that largely correspond to education levels:
- Early childhood education and care
- School education
- VET and Adult learning
- Higher education
- Transversal skills and Employability.
Inside each thematic area, reforms are organised chronologically. The most recent reforms are described first.
Overall national education strategy and key objectives
The Greek parliament adopts the laws, while the government sets the rules for pre-school, school, post-secondary and tertiary education.
The overall educational strategy and the key objectives of the educational system are published in laws and regulations.
The Greek educational system is under the central responsibility and supervision of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs.
The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs implements a series of policies and initiatives aimed at improving the effectiveness and efficiency of education in both content and procedures.
New Educational Policy
According to the new education policy, changes are being implemented in all levels of education, which are carried out through legislation, ministerial decisions and wider actions.
School upgrading (law 4692/2020, law 4823/2021):
The above-mentioned laws regulate a wide spectrum of matters. Matters of primary, secondary education and lifelong learning, and higher education are regulated. The goal is school upgrading. The arrangements are organised in 3 principal axes:
- reform of school curricula,
- targeted interventions to reinforce the educational work provided in school and
- organisational and improvement adjustments in higher education.
Law 4823/2021 emphasises in autonomy in schools. The law strengthens freedom in the organisation of teaching, the role of teachers in educational management positions, as well as transparency and accountability.
The Curricula determine the what, the how and the why of the learning process for each lesson, class and level. The New Curricula have already been piloted for two years and will be gradually introduced in all schools.
The revision of the Curricula seeks to reorient school education, based on scientific developments and the emerging demands of the society of the future. The new Curricula integrate the positive elements of the previous ones, whilst responding, first and foremost, to the needs of all students, to the new social reality and context in sciences as regards teaching, learning, subjects and the practices applied, as well as the development of skills that are essential to the citizens of the 21st century.
The new Curricula have as their starting point the learning outcomes, i.e. everything the student needs to know, understand and be able to apply after completing each learning process. The emphasis moves from the subject, the teachers and the teaching process to the students and the expected learning outcomes: basically, this means a reverse process, where the basis of planning is the learning outcomes and all the other parameters depend on their definition (http://iep.edu.gr/el/nea-programmata-spoudon-arxiki-selida).
21st century Skills Labs
Skills Labs are an innovative school module, which reinforces both social and digital skills, as well as everyday life skills (related to health, safety and social interactions).
This initiative aspires to bring about a paradigm shift in education: from the cognitive model to a skills-based approach. Instead of receiving and memorizing information conveyed by the teacher, both teachers and students work together to cultivate essential skills and learn how to learn. The Labs are combined with Flexible Study Programmes. Students make better use of knowledge and respond more effectively to contemporary challenges.
The module is part of the national curriculum in compulsory education. The programme has received the Global Education Network Europe (GENE) Global Education Award (2020/21).
Evaluation of school units
Since the academic year 2021/22, a system of "Collective planning, internal and external evaluation of school units" is implemented, which aims to improve the quality of education through a dynamic approach, which takes into account the goals of education, the particularities of each school and the basic functions of the school unit (Ministerial Decision 108906/GD4/10-09-2021).
The internal evaluation – self-evaluation of the school unit is a continuous, participative and dynamic process in which the whole school community is involved in order to identify the positive points, related to the work provided by the school unit, but also the points that need improvement.
This process forms the basis for the planning of the educational work, as well as for the planning and implementation of actions that will contribute to the improvement of the quality in three main functions of the school unit:
- the pedagogical and learning function,
- the administrative function, and
- its operation as a professional learning community, which promotes the professional development of teachers.
The External Evaluation of school units aims to provide documented feedback on the work of schools and to support teachers in order to improve the education provided, based on the operating conditions of each school unit, its socio-cultural context, as well as the general school climate.
Introduction to Higher Education and protection of academic freedom
The purpose of the L. 4957/2022is to improve the operation of higher education through an integrated approach that aims to upgrade the quality of the educational, research and scientific work of the institutions, strengthen their human resources, connect them with the development needs of the country and provide additional tools for the implementation of their strategic plans and relevant national strategies.
Some of the important changes introduced by the law are: competitive study options and connection to the labour market, facilitating the creation of start-ups by students and graduates, strengthening meritocracy in the election and advancement of teaching and management staff, Greek "Erasmus" for students, utilisation of new technologies in teaching.
Issues of admission to higher education, protection of academic freedom, upgrading of the academic environment and other provisions are regulated (law 4777/2021). The regulations are mainly aimed at ensuring the conditions for successful studies and the timely completion of studies, with students who consciously choose their studies in areas that fall within their inclinations and interests. Equally important is the aim of strengthening the protection and security of the premises of the institutions, an aim pursued for the first time and in a comprehensive way.
Law 4692/2020 (School upgrading and other provisions), as regards higher education, targets organisational and improvement adjustments, enhancing internationalisation of universities, and a more transparent procedure for appointment of new rectorate authorities.
National System of Vocational Education, Training and Lifelong Learning, incorporation into Greek legislation of Directive (EU) 2018/958 of the European Parliament and of the Council as of 28th June 2018 on proportionality test (law 4763/2020).
A holistic reform is being attempted in Vocational Education and Training and Lifelong Learning (law 4763/2020), which is organised in 3 principal axes:
- Axis 1: The joint strategic planning of Vocational Education and Training and Lifelong Learning. With distinct levels of qualifications, to avoid overlapping of structures and services. In this context, a National Vocational Education and Training System is established, which extends over levels 3, 4 and 5 of the National Qualifications Framework, in line with those of the European Qualifications Framework.
- Axis 2: A more direct and effective interconnection of Vocational Education and Training and Lifelong Learning with the real needs of the labour market, through the effective participation of social partners.
- Axis 3: The upgrade of the (initial and continuing) vocational education and training, at the level of
- curricula and
Overview of the education reform process and drivers
Typically, the reform process is a political initiative launched by elected officials (members of Parliament) or the Ministers or appointed officials for Educationand Religious Affairs.
Input for reforms or initiatives may also originate from different stakeholders, including government, regional and local authorities, non-governmental and non-profit organisations, employers and employee unions, and businesses. Besides, reforms may be shaped by international influences and trends.
The Hellenic Authority for Higher Education proposes the strategy for higher education to the Minister. Similarly, the main advisory body for primary and secondary education is the Institute for Education Policy. The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs decides on the strategic plans for all levels of education, leaving a certain amount of autonomy for specific issues to the decentralized bodies. The implementation of strategy and compliance to directives is assigned to the commanding regional administration, i.e. Regional Education Directorates (two layers of hierarchy). The regional administration bodies supervise the school units in their area of jurisdiction. The overall education strategy is included in the Government Programme
For more details, see above “Overall national education strategy and key objectives”.