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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Support measures for learners in adult education and training


12.Educational Support and Guidance

12.7Support measures for learners in adult education and training

Last update: 20 February 2024

Definition of the target group(s)

One of the goals of the law for the development of lifelong learning (law 3879/2010) is to ensure access of individuals to general adult education.
In accordance with the definition in law 4430/2016, the socially vulnerable groups are the population groups whose participation in social and economic life is hampered, due to either social and economic problems, or due to physical, mental and cognitive disability, or even due to unlawful conduct. 
These groups include:

  • Persons with disabilities (physical, mental, cognitive, sensory)
  • Substance dependent persons or individuals in the process of recovery
  • Juvenile delinquents, prison inmates and persons released from prison. 

The 'special' category groups are the population groups that are disadvantaged concerning their smooth integration to labour market due to economic, social and cultural reasons. 
These groups include:

  • Victims of domestic violence
  • Victims of human trafficking and trading
  • Homeless people
  • People living in poverty
  • Economic immigrants
  • Refugees and asylum seekers
  • Single parent family leaders
  • Culturally differentiated people
  • Long-term unemployed up to 25 years of age and over 50 years of age.

Specific support measures

The objectives of general adult education are: 

  • knowledge enrichment, 
  • the development and improvement of students’ skills and talents,
  • to promote personality development and active citizenship and 
  • reduce social and educational inequalities.

General adult education programmes are suitable for all persons. Particular emphasis placed upon vulnerable groups, with programmes that aim to promote their socio-economic inclusion.  Through structures that provide information, support and advisory services, every adult has the option to access 

  • formal education institutes and 
  • lifelong learning network bodies.

    Chapter 8 "Adult Education and Training" makes detailed reference to the provisions and the measures supporting the objectives of lifelong learning and adult education. These regulations and measures are summarized as follows:

  • Vocational Education: Epangelmatika lykeia - EPAL (vocational upper secondary schools) and Special needs vocational lower – upper secondary education schools (ΕΝΕΕGy-L). 

    During school year 2020-2021, Day vocational education  upper secondary schools  - EPAL  were attended by 79.186 students (14.953 adults included in the previous number), Evening vocational education upper secondary schools - EPAL were attended by  27.828 students (27.248 adults included in the previous number) and  Special needs vocational lower – upper secondary education schools (ΕΝΕΕGy-L)  were attended by 3.513 students (853 adults included in the previous number).  

  • The Post-Secondary – Apprenticeship Programme which started to operate in a pilot mode in 2017 (law 4386/2016). According to law 4763/2020, the Post-Secondary – Apprenticeship Programme is implemented within the domain of the Secretariat General for Vocational Education and Training and Lifelong Learning of the Ministry of Education, Religious Affairs and Sports . The Boards for Connection with Production and Labour Market (SSPAE) are responsible at district level for issues related to the support of the Post-Secondary – Apprenticeship Programme. Post-Secondary – Apprenticeship Programme classes operate at EPAL schools. The programme targets at further reinforcing the inclusion of graduates of non- compulsory secondary vocational education to the labor market by acquiring work experience deploying the apprenticeship methodology.
  • Scholeia defteris efkairias (SDE)/Second Chance Schools are schools for adults that have not completed compulsory education. Within Second Chance Schools preparatory classes can operate for exam participation leading to the acquisition of the primary school leaving certificate as well as preparatory classes for teaching Greek Language to immigrants and refugees so that they can enroll at Second Chance Schools.
  • Vocational Training Schools/ESK and Vocational Apprenticeship Schools/EPAS of OAED. Among the main aims of the mentioned above schools are both to confront early school leaving, upskill the basic skills of holders of compulsory education certificates or equivalent certificates and promote inclusion in the labour market and professional life of vulnerable social groups.
  • Institouta epangelmatikis katartisis - IEK (vocational training institutes), offering initial vocational training to graduates of formal, non-compulsory secondary education (general or vocational upper secondary schools). Public Institouta Epangelmatikis Katartisis/IEK can organize foreign language classes for foreigners, aged 18 and above that are holders of equivalent certificates of those holded by graduates of non- compulsory secondary education. Attendance at public Institouta Epangelmatikis Katartisis/IEK is free of charge. To secure unhampered attendance and its completion scholarships can be granted to trainees of public  Institouta Epangelmatikis Katartisis/IEK of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affaris, upon social and financial criteria.
  • Dimosia Kentra dia viou mathisis/KDVM (public lifelong learning centres), are established to offer continuous vocational training, reskilling, upskilling, general adult education, vocational guidance and lifelong learning counselling. The number of participants in KDBM learning courses may not exceed twenty-five (25) people or fifteen (15) in cases of programmes aimed exclusively at specific social groups, such as the disabled. The criteria for the inclusion of participants in the learning courses are specified in the respective programmes.
  • Centers for Training and Life Long Learning/KEDIVIM within Higher Education Institutions, which form Institutional units that ensure coordination and multidisciplinary cooperation concerning the development of programs for training, continuous education and training and lifelong learning. 
  • Lifelong learning  programmes in local authorities which are EU co-funded programmes, were implemented intermittently during the last years. Focusing is on education and lifelong learning for all ages, with a view to fostering a positive attitude towards learning. Such programmes also promote equal opportunities in education and encourage the productive use of free time, thus increasing accessibility chances in the labour market. Finally, LLL programmes help linking or re-linking those who did not complete compulsory education with adult education. Municipalities are provided with the option to operate lifelong learning centres (KDVM), which  implement general adult education programmes with additional learning activities taking place at national and local level.  

The Hellenic Open University (superintended by the Ministry of Education, Religious Affairs and Sports) is the body that over time provides for distant higher education studies (undergraduate, postgraduate and training) by developing and making use of the appropriate materials and teaching methods.
On the occasion of the covid pandemic, provision was made for using long distance education means for the Ministry of Education, Religious Affairs’ & Sports educative structures. 
 Law 4763/2020, foresses (a) the possibility of setting up primary and secondary school units in Detention Centres; public vocational training institutes (IEK), Vocational Training Schools (ESK), public lifelong learning centres (KDBM) and Greek language learning courses and (b) the possibility of organising Greek language programmes aimed at third-country citizens or asylum seekers over sixteen years of age, who are interested in acquiring the status of long-term resident. In this case, after examinations, third-country citizens may obtain a special certificate of adequate knowledge of the Greek language and elements of Greek history and culture. These programmes are provided free of charge, within the framework of lifelong learning centres (KDBM) actions, or in cooperation with co-competent Ministries.
Through the National Qualifications Framework, as established by law 4763/2020, the qualifications of individuals, i.e. knowledge, skills and competences, acquired through formal education and training and non-formal and informal learning, are recognised and correlated with each other and then classified, in the logic of learning outcomes.
Relevant support is offered via the two (2) following state bodies which are under the supervision of the Ministry of Education:

  1. The Youth and Lifelong Learning Foundation (INEDIVIM), which aims at realizing acts, programs and projects for Life Long Learning and Youth (focusing on supporting young people’ s educative and professional pathways  and mobility, bringing out and reinforcing innovation and mobility) and managing issues related in  any way to pupil and student care.
  2. The National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP) which implements the national Accreditation & Certification System for non-formal learning, including Initial and Continuing Vocational Training and provides scientific support to vocational guidance & counseling services both at national and local/regional levels.