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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Organisation of private education

Greece

2.Organisation and governance

2.4Organisation of private education

Last update: 4 April 2023

All private primary and secondary education schools (Greek and international), private vocational training schools, private vocational training institutes and colleges receive full private funding.

Private primary and secondary education

Private schools

In Greece, besides state Schools, private primary and secondary education schools operate.  They do not belong to the State.  Natural or legal persons establish and maintain them. A decision of the Minister of Education grants operation license for a private school under certain conditions to:

  • Natural persons
  • Legal persons
  • Associations of persons
  • Legal entities under public law.

Private schools fall under the competence of the Ministry of Education. The latter exercises supervision and control through regional administration bodies (primary and secondary education directorates).  The same applies to state schools. Pursuant to law 682/1977, as amended by law 4713/2020, private and public education includes the same types of schools. Private schools follow the organisation of state schools.  They award certificates equivalent to state schools.  They follow the timetable and the teaching curriculum in force. Deviations from the timetable and extra-curricular activities are allowed once the competent education directorate checks the validity of the curriculum and the pedagogical content of teaching, as well as, provided that:

  1. The extended weekly timetable, including the compulsory programme and the extra-curricular activities, may not exceed 40 hours.
  2. The extra-curricular activities are decided before the teaching year starts, apply throughout the year, involve every student in the class or classes they are implemented in and are included in the school unit’s extended timetable, which is notified to the competent Directorate of Education.
  3. The hours private school teachers spend occupied with extra-curricular activities during the extended timetable, are considered to be part of their compulsory weekly teaching hours.

Furthermore, according to their compulsory or extended weekly programme, private schools may teach more foreign languages in parallel, as well as may choose which and how many foreign languages to teach, in addition to the foreign languages provided for in the timetable specified by the Ministry of Education. 

Private international schools

Private international schools also operate (laws 4862/1931,3794/2009,4186/2013,4713/2020, 4763/2020).

 Natural persons (non-Greek citizens) or legal persons that do not live in Greece may establish them. The authorisation to establish and operate a private international school is subject to conditions defined by law. There are 31 private international schools in Greece. Several of these schools are the outcome of bilateral educational agreements signed between Greece and other states.  The existence of a transnational agreement does not substitute operation license. The Hellenic Ministry of Education supervises their operation via the competent primary and secondary education directorates. According to their curriculum, International schools are classified in:

  1. International schools following the curriculum of the foreign country.  They address mainly foreign nationals living in Greece.  
  2. International schools with a Greek curriculum.  They follow the same curriculum as Greek state schools.  They place emphasis on foreign language teaching and several other subjects.
  3. International schools with a Greek and foreign curriculum.  They operate as two independent sections.

Based on laws 3794/2009 and 4763/2020, pupils who are EU nationals are allowed to attend, without restrictions, schools that follow:

  • a curriculum of a Member State of the European Union or the United Kingdom, or
  • a combined curriculum involving a Member State of the European Union or the United Kingdom; or
  • an International Baccalaureate curriculum for compulsory education.

In addition, Greek students can attend schools where a third country curriculum is followed, with the permission of the Ministry of Education, and subject to certain conditions.

It should be noted that teaching of specific Greek subjects according to the Greek curriculum is compulsory for all international schools in the country, which follow a foreign curriculum.

Post lower secondary private vocational education and training 

Private vocational training schools (law 4763/2020)

 Private vocational training schools (IESK), just like state vocational training schools, provide initial vocational education and training to graduates of formal compulsory education, that is to holders of the lower secondary school leaving certificate, or other equivalent title. State and private vocational training schools may lead to the vocational education and training degree, level 3. An operation license for a private vocational training school is given to natural or legal persons, under certain conditions and by decision of the Secretary General for Vocational Education, Training, and Lifelong Learning and Youth, published in the Government Gazette.  The Minister of Education supervises private vocational training schools and is also responsible to form their educational framework. 

Private post-secondary education

Private vocational education institutes

Private vocational training institutes (IIEKs), just like state IEKs, offer initial vocational training to graduates of formal non-compulsory secondary education of general upper secondary schools and vocational upper secondary schools. State and private IEKs may lead to the vocational specialization, education and training diploma, level 5. Under certain conditions and by decision of the Secretary General for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth, published in the Government Gazette, operation license for a private vocational training institute (IIEK) is given to:

  • Natural persons
  • Legal persons
  • Associations of persons
  • Legal entities under public law.

The Minister of Education supervises private IEKs and is also responsible to form their educational framework. 

Colleges

In Greece, colleges provide non-formal post-secondary education and training to graduates of:

  • General upper secondary schools
  • Vocational upper secondary schools.

Higher education is provided only by institutions that are legal entities under public law with full self-administration.  The establishment of HEIs by individuals is prohibited. Colleges provide study programmes based on validation and franchising agreements with international HEIs, recognised by the competent authorities in their country. Three-year study programmes lead to bachelor degrees.  In addition, they lead to master’s degrees, as long as the study programmes have accreditation by international accreditation organisations. The degrees, awards, certifications may be deemed equivalent to HEI of the formal Greek education system under certain conditions. Under certain conditions and by decision of the Minister of Education, operation license for a college is given to:

  • Natural persons
  • Legal persons
  • Associations of persons
  • Legal persons under public law.

There are 36 licensed Colleges in Greece.

The competent service for Colleges is the Directorate for the Supervision of Vocational Training and Lifelong Learning Providers (departments B and C) which is under the General Secretariat for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth.