Types of institutions
General non-compulsory secondary education is offered at lykeia (upper secondary schools). Attendance lasts 3 years and includes grades Α, Β and C. There are also upper secondary schools which offer experimental curricula or are oriented towards students with specific inclinations or educational needs. In this context, the types of schools that provide general non-compulsory secondary education and award equivalent certificates are the following:
Day upper secondary schools
Imerisia genika lykeia (day general upper secondary schools) constitute the main provider of general non-compulsory secondary education as they are addressed to the majority of pupils selecting general education at this educational level. Day general lykeia amount to 978.
Evening upper secondary schools
Esperina genika lykeia (evening general upper secondary schools) are attended by working pupils, who wish to complete their school education. More specifically, as stated by law 4547/2018, adults and working underage individuals are eligible to enroll. Evening general upper secondary school lasts 3 years (law 4547/2018) and includes grades Α, Β, and C. Grades Α, Β and C correspond to grades A, B and C of the day general lykeio. In Greece, esperina genika lykeia amount to 48.
Model and experimental upper secondary schools
According to law 4692/2020, protypa kai peiramatika scholeia (model and experimental schools) are educational units that contribute to the educational planning and pilot implementation of the educational policy, in order to cultivate the best educational methods, practices and tools throughout the educational system.
The aim of these schools is to cover educational needs related to research, training and the exchange of good practices. At national level, the school head, the deputy school head and the school teachers' board are the administration bodies of model and experimental schools. The scientific supervisory board (EPES) provides pedagogical and scientific guidance during the planning and implementation of the schools' experimental activities. The admission of students to the first grade of the model High School takes place after examinations or a test of skills. Any specific issue regarding the type of exams or test (skills), the process of submitting applications for participation in the examinations, the procedure, the time and the competent bodies for conducting the examinations and ensuring the integrity of the process and the results are all determined by decision of the Minister of education and religion affairs, issued after the recommendation of the DEPPS (Administrative committee of model and experimental schools) and the opinion of the IEP (Institute of educational policy). Students get accepted in experimental schools exclusively by draw in order to achieve as random a sample of students as possible. The scientific supervisory board (EPES) is responsible for the implementation of the draw procedure together with the school head, the school teachers' board and the parents' association. The selection of students concerns the first year of entry (that is grade A of gymnasio). Student progression from gymnasio to lykeio of these schools depends on school graduation exams. For school year 2020/21, law 4692/2020 defines the regulations on the entry of students in model and experimental schools. The number of model gymnasia is 19, while experimental gymnasia are 16. The number of model lykeia is 18, while experimental lykeia are 13.
The purpose of the Music schools is to prepare and train young people who wish to follow the professional direction of music, without falling behind in general education, if they finally choose another scientific or professional field (Ministerial Decision Γ2/3345/ 2-9-1988). Graduates of the relevant Music lower secondary school are enrolled in the 1st grade of Music upper secondary school and successful students through examinations of other general schools, if there are vacancies. According to the Ministerial Decision 106689/ Δ2/ 18-8-2020 currently in effect, the total number of hours of general education courses and Music Education courses amounts to 42, on a weekly basis, for all classes of the Music upper secondary school. As is the case with Music lower secondary schools, the promotion of Music upper secondary school students to music education courses is a condition for their stay in this school, regardless of whether the students have been promoted to the next grade, according to what is in force in General Education upper secondary schools. The number of music schools is 48.
The Art Schools were established by law 3194/2003 and include the directions:
- Fine arts
- Theater - cinema
The purpose of the Art Schools is to familiarize, prepare, encourage and support students' interest in the arts, as well as to cultivate and educate their skills. The program of the Art schools includes in addition to the general education courses of the General upper secondary school and art education courses of the three directions. The schedule of the Art upper secondary schools is expanded and is adjusted to 40 hours per week (Ministerial decision 154132/Δ2/29-11-2021) currently in effect). Graduates of the Art upper secondary schools and / or students from other lower secondary schools are automatically enrolled in the Art upper secondary Schools and specifically in the 1st grade of these after qualifying examinations. The number of Art High Schools that operate in the whole country amounts to 8.
General ecclesiastical upper secondary schools
General ecclesiastical secondary schools are established and operate in order that students attending them can have a deeper understanding of the ecclesiastical, spiritual and cultural Eastern Orthodox Christian Church. This type of secondary school aims at students being able to:
- acquire a complete educational contex, knowledge and understanding of the Orthodox Christianity as an ecclesiastical and cultural tradition as well as its place and mission in modern-day world,
- widen the major aspects of ecclesiastical teachings, worship, spirituality, art, tradition and life and become aware of their dynamics,
- understand the need for mutual respect and dialogue between different religious communities and traditions to the benefit of social and religious peace and
- consolidate the need for protection of the natural and cultural environment.
General ecclesiastical upper secondary schools follow the same timetable as the one implemented in the public general upper secondary Education, as modified pursuant to a relevant decision of the Minister of education and religious affairs, following a relevant proposal submitted by the Supervisory council for ecclesiastical education and the relevant opinion of the Institute of educational policy. The timetable may be extended with the addition of extra teaching hours exclusively intended for ecclesiastical specialization subjects, with the total teaching hours amounting to no more than forty-two (42) hours per week. In grade C the extra teaching hours are exclusively dedicated to group orientation subjects.
Graduates are awarded a diploma equivalent to that of General upper secondary schools, giving them the right to participate in the current system of admission to higher education. There are 8 General Ecclesiastical Lyceums throughout the country.
Upper secondary schools of special education and training
According to law 3966/2011, the upper secondary schoolsof special education and training include the preliminary class and the next three classes A', B', C'. Lower secondary school graduates with disabilities and special educational needs can be enrolled directly in the A class of the upper secondary school, after an evaluation carried out by the relevant ΚΕDDΥ (Center for differential diagnosis and support for special educational needs). The timetable programs for the 3 classes of special education upper secondary schools are based on the Ministerial Decision 83315/ Δ3/30-6-2020. The number of public upper secondary schools of special education amounts to 6. More information is available in Chapter 12.
Minority upper secondary schools
The minority education provided in Greece concerns the demarcated Muslim minority of Thrace, which includes exclusively the registered residents of Thrace, Greek citizens, Muslims by religion, descendants of the non-exchanged populations (Greece-Turkey) with the signature of Lausanne. The minority education system in Greece is based on the Treaty of Lausanne, is assisted by the provisions of subsequent Educational Protocols and is defined by Greek law. The following is a bilingual teaching program, distributing the time between the Turkish and Greek languages in an absolutely equal way, with the two languages being, except for the languages of instruction and the subject of instruction. The bilingual curriculum is developed in agreement and correspondence with the curricula of other public schools in the country, but with an emphasis on preserving, cultivating and promoting the linguistic and cultural background of the minority. There are currently two Minority upper secondary schools in Thrace.
The Muslim seminaries of Thrace are religious schools in which only students / members of the Muslim minority of Thrace can attend, covering the needs of their religious education. The Muslim Seminaries of Thrace cover the level of secondary education (lower - upper). The diplomas issued by the seminaries and granted to the graduates of the first three gradesare equivalent to the diplomas of the ecclesiastical high schools and the diplomas issued and granted to the graduates of the remaining three grades are equivalent to the diplomas of the General Ecclesiastical Lyceums (law 4823/2021). The students of the seminaries attend the timetable that is taught in the lower and upper secondary schools, with minimal deviations, while, in addition, they are also taught courses of religious specialization, such as the Qur'an, its interpretation, Islamic Law, etc. The curriculum is developed in Greek, Turkish and Arabic. There are two seminaries, one in Komotini and one in Xanthi.
Intercultural education upper secondary schools
With the aim of the educational and social integration of children of immigrant origin in the context of equality and with respect for the preservation of their cultural identity, the treatment of negative discrimination based on cultural differences, xenophobia and racism, Intercultural Education Schools operate. These schools, according to law 4415/2016, are provided to operate as Experimental Schools of Intercultural Education and seek cooperation with universities in the country. They implement on an experimental basis research and innovative programs related to intercultural education and the treatment of educational and social exclusion due to racial origin and cultural origin. Curricula and pedagogical methods are applied as in the existing Experimental Schools. The number of Intercultural Lyceums is 5.
School of European education
The School of European Education was founded in Crete based on law 3376/2005. The school fully follows the curricula taught in European Schools and covers Kindergarten, Elementary, Lower secondary and Upper secondary school. This includes:
- Children of staff of the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) or other European Union agency.
- Children of the staff of International Organizations and Diplomatic Missions based in Heraklion, Crete.
- Graduates of the primary education cycle of the school
- Students coming with transfer from other European schools or European Education schools (type II).
- Students who live in the wider district of the specific school, in the vacant places, after a draw.
There are two language departments, Greek and English. Students whose mother tongue is not included in the language departments that operate must be tested in the language of the department of their choice to determine if their knowledge of the language of instruction of that language department is at a level that allows them to attend that language department. The general framework for the operation of European schools applies to the curricula, teaching methods and the evaluation and promotion of students.
In order to ensure the provision of secondary education to students in the most remote areas, an effort is made for the geographical distribution of general lykeia to be consistent with the needs and particularities of local conditions. The establishment and operation thereof is the outcome of the collaboration, the opinion and the recommendations of the local community and the competent local educational authorities. According to ministerial decision 50025/26-09-2018, the regional authority is responsible for the transport of students. In particular, the regional authorities transport students for free either via free student travel cards and their own means of transport for distances 2,500 meters for students attending Upper secondary schools vocational upper secondary schools (ΕPAL) and under public contract for provision of services for 5,000 meters for Upper secondary schools vocational upper secondary schools (EPAL) students. Students having completed secondary education and enrolled in any school are not entitled to free transport.
Admission requirements and choice of school
Attendance in lykeia (upper secondary education schools) is non-compulsory. The graduation certificate of lower secondary school is a requirement for enrolment. Students attend the upper secondary school in the region of their permanent place of residence. The secondary education director decides the boundaries of an area in a city covered by a school as well as the maximum number of students enrolled in the school. If the said areas cannot be designated under the competence of a single education director, such decision is taken by the competent regional director of education.
Age levels and grouping of students
There is no age limit for enrolment in upper secondary education schools. However, for the most part, student age ranges from 15 to 18 years. Every grade consists of one or more classes, depending on the number of pupils. Classes of general education and of groups of direction in the third grade of upper secondary education cannot consist of 25 pupils and above. Classes with 25 pupils and above are divided into groups anew. (law 4610/2019)
In upper secondary schools, the instruction of different cognitive fields/subjects, as they are described in the national curricula, is undertaken by teachers having the respective specialization. For example, the teaching of history is the work of the language teacher, mathematics is the work of the mathematician and physics is the work of the physicist.
In order to ensure the smooth operation of the school unit and if it is necessary, teachers may be required to teach a subject/subjects similar to their specialization. For example the subject of history may be allocated to the foreign language teacher. The assignment of lykeio subjects to teachers of secondary education is determined by ministerial decision 85980/Δ2/03-7-2020.
Under the applicable legislation, the teaching of a specific course by a teacher of a respective specialization is not limited in terms of the number of years of study the teacher has undertaken to teach that specific course to a specific class of pupils.
Organisation of the school year
The organization of the school year for upper secondary school is defined at central level. The school year begins on 1 September and ends on 31 August of the following year. The teaching year begins on 1 September and ends on 30 June.
The teaching year in general lykeio is divided in two terms. The first term runs from September 11 September to 20 January. The second term starts on 21 January until the end of all classes (final week of May).
The exam period follows, which includes written progression and school leaving certificate exams, right at the end of classes of the second term (exam period May-June), as well as the period of 1 September until the start of classes, when this is foreseen.
No teaching or exam take place during the Christmas holidays (two weeks), Easter holidays (two weeks) and summer holidays from 1 July to 31 August.
During the summer holidays, every lykeio operates once a week for administrative purposes.
The number of teaching days amounts to 189 per year and are organized into weeks of 5 days each (Monday to Friday). The number of teaching hours is 35 on a weekly basis for day general lykeia and 25 for general evening lykeia.
The timetable is established on the basis of the national curricula by ministerial decisions and applied collectively to all types of general lykeia throughout the country. Details on timetables can be found in section 6.5 Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education. Other types of lykeia implement a slightly different timetable, such as art lykeia, where pupils also attend art classes.
Organisation of the school day and week
The weekly teaching time per grade is defined at central level for all types of general upper secondary schools.
The classes in day schools begin at 08:15 and end at 14:10, while in evening schools classes begin at 19:20 and end at 22:55.
However, the allocation of courses on a weekly basis is not defined centrally. It is a decision of each school unit and is formed in accordance with the needs thereof.
Classes (beginning and ending of teaching hours)
Duration of teaching hours
Duration of breaks
MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY
08.15 - 09.00
09.05 - 09.50
10.00 - 10.45
10.55 - 11.40
11.50 - 12.35
12.45. - 13.25
|7th hour||13.30 - 14.10||40'||-|
Classes (beginning and ending of teaching hours)
Duration of teaching hours
Duration of breaks
MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY
20.00 - 20.40
20.50 - 21.30
21.40 - 22.20
22.20 - 22.55
In addition to school halls, auxiliary rooms, a gym, event room, library, science laboratory and computer lab are provided in each school unit. Each class department has its own classroom per year, while the rest of the spaces are used in turn by the various classes according to the needs of the weekly program or extraordinary events.