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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Teaching and learning in post-secondary non-tertiary education


6.Secondary and post-secondary higher education

6.11Teaching and learning in post-secondary non-tertiary education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Curriculum, subjects, number of hours

Vocational training institutes

The General Secretariat for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth plans and supervises the curriculum for each specialty of initial vocational training.

Studies last 5 semesters: 4 semesters of theoretical and laboratory training of a total duration of approximately 1.200 hours of specialised training and one semester of internship or apprenticeship of a total duration of 960 hours.

Training includes:

  • Theoretical subjects: they are taught in classrooms by one instructor and aimed at trainees acquiring the knowledge required to understand the cognitive object of their training.
  • Laboratory courses: they are carried out solely in laboratories and aim at the consolidation of the theoretical part of the training and the acquisition of skills.  All or a part of the registered trainees of each class may attend them.
  • Mixed courses: these require concurrent theoretical training and skills acquisition.

Under the responsibility of  the General Secretariat for Vocational Education, Training and Lifelong Learning and Youth, special scientists, experts, trainers and professional executives, with the assistance of the social partners or other public or private bodies, develop “Τraining Guides" for each specialty, according to the Standard Training Guide. The implementation of the Training Guides is supervised by the General Secretariat. 

Training Guides include:

  • the institutional framework, which includes in particular the provisions on specialization and entry requirements, professional functions and professional standards,
  • the expected learning outcomes in terms of knowledge, skills and competences, the matching of learning outcomes into credits, where possible,
  • the timetable with the curriculum of the theoretical or laboratory unit, developed according to the desired learning outcomes of each lesson,
  • the educational methodology for obtaining the learning outcomes, such as learning in the training unit, learning in the workplace or internship and distance education-training,
  • the qualifications of trainers,
  • teaching methods and
  • the necessary equipment, where required, the teaching aids, the qualification pathways, the certification process and the certification standard, including a bank of qualification certification issues corresponding to the corresponding level of the National Qualifications Framework.

   Pursuant to law 4763/2020, the Minister of Education approves the Training Guides of Vocational Institutes (IEKs), after their certification by the Board of the National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications & Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP) and the approval posted on the websites of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs and EOPPEP.

The Apprenticeship Curricula implemented under the previous law, which also define the weekly distribution between on-the-job learning and laboratory work, remain in force until they are replaced by new training guides.

 During the process of their certification by the EOPPEP, these graduates of vocational institutes (IEK) are examined and certified based on the Guides or the Study Programs, as the case may be.

The new Training Guides are applied, after being published, for the training of specialties in IEK and the certification of their graduates by the EOPPEP, hereinafter replacing the Guides or the Study Programs of respective specialties.

Specialties, which are provided in law 4186/2013 and in which the study currently continues, are abolished after its completion. 

Post-secondary year – apprenticeship class

The curricula per specialty are defined by the relevant ministerial decisions and mainly cover the laboratory course of the specialty. By decision of the competent Secretary General, the same programs are used to describe the learning outcomes and fow work-place learning , until the publication of  finalized Training Guides per specialty of the Post-Secondary year-Apprenticeship Class.

Within the context of linking vocational education and training with the needs of society and the professional and scientific developments, trainers implement the study programmes of post-secondary year - apprenticeship class. The latter are structured in learning modules which constitute of learning output that cover the whole span of the subject.

The existing curriculum of post-secondary year - apprenticeship class, regarding laboratory courses, is quite flexible. 20% of the total teaching time, that is 42 out of 203 teaching hours of the apprenticeship programme that takes place in the school unit, is covered by the syllabus chosen by the teacher.

The trainer can act autonomously and cover the special educational needs and interests of the trainees, as well as other needs that arise from local or other type of peculiarities.  He/she can also specify further the rest of the programme or even introduce new elements related to the specialty.

Taken into consideration that trainees during their integration in the apprenticeship, are in a transition phase from the school to the work environment, the implementation of the apprenticeship curricula draws elements both from the pedagogical theories of learning and the principles of adult learning.

The laboratory subject is structured in 1-3 partial thematic units or specific subjects.  It lasts a total of 7 hours.  It is taught outside teaching hours. 

 Pursuant to law 4763/2020 and by decision of the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs  issued following a General Secretary's proposal, the new Training Guides will be approved by specialty of the the Post-Secondary year - Apprenticeship Class. The new training guides must be approved and certified by EOPPEP Board.

The Apprenticeship Curricula implemented under the previous law, which also define the weekly distribution between on-the-job learning and laboratory work, remain in force until they are replaced by new training guides. 

Guides or Curricula, which were applied for the training of trainees and apprentices before the issuance of the law 4763/2020, continue to be applied until the completion of their studies.

These graduates of the Post-Secondary Year of Apprenticeship, during the process of their certification by the EOPPEP, are examined and certified based on the Guides or the Study Programs, as the case may be.

The specialties of the Post-Secondary Year of Apprenticeship, which have been provided by the previous law, are still valid until their replacement by the procedure defined by law 4763/2020.

In accordance with the provisions of law 4763/2020, the new Regulation for the Post-Secondary Year-Apprenticeship Class and the Selection and Scoring Procedure for the Staffing of the Program have been issued as well as relevant decisions that determine staff issues and apprentices' fees. A decision that determine the organization and operation of the Preparatory Certification Program remain to be issued.

Teaching methods and materials

Vocational training institutes

Vocational training institutes' (IEK) main task is the provision of high-level qualifications, with a view to assist trainees to enter the labour market.

This is achieved through:

  • The selection and development of accredited initial vocational training programmes that correspond to specific job profiles, based on specialisations with relative higher labour market demand.
  • The selection of trainers with appropriate knowledge level or experience to provide high quality training.
  • Fully equipped laboratories of formal education structures, which ensure a suitable environment for comprehensive training.

Due to the nature of the training provided, specific teaching material (inluding textbooks) are not used in IEK, contrarily to what happens in the secondary education. The trainers are free to find and choose teaching materials and methodology.  However, they are assisted in their duties by the deputy head of each IEK, who provides some guidance.

Teamwork is encouraged. The teaching methods in use aim at offering modern and qualitative training, as regards content and means that combine theoretical presentation and laboratory practice.

Practical training at the workplace is also part of the curricula.  Visits to companies are foreseen, as a means to better understand the workplace, in order to assimilate and transform theoretical knowledge and so as to facilitate trainees' access to the labour market.

Laboratory Centres operate as independent administrative structures, that is, as school units.  They co-operate with vocational upper secondary schools and the vocational training institutes based in the same area. They are formed by at least two school units while in their premises laboratories of different fields and expertise operate. They aim at improving students' laboratory practice.

Post-secondary year – apprenticeship class

Pending the finalization of the new Training guides, the implementation of the post-secondary – apprenticeship class is based on apprenticeship curricula designed by the Institute of Educational Policy (IEP). The programmes meet quality standards set by the approved quality framework of programme studies, as well as the criteria that are compatible with the respective validated job profiles of EOPPEP.

As regards teaching methods, within the framework of the apprenticeship curricula, educational methods and teaching techniques are proposed to the educators. These methods give emphasis on linking theory with practice and are focused on the trainee and his/her needs.

In particular, during the implementation of the apprenticeship curricula, emphasis is given on:

  1. Self-motivation
  2. Active participation
  3. Learning-based experience
  4. Collaboration
  5. Cultivation of skills and competences

Indicatively, educators may use the following methods and techniques:

  1. Debate
  2. Exercises-applications related to the professional context of each specialisation
  3. Demonstration
  4. Case studies
  5. Group work
  6. Role playing
  7. Simulation
  8. Projects
  9. Problem solving
  10. Interview
  11. Educational visit.

Emphasis is also given in the practice of trainees' digital and practical skills related to the use of general or special software and machines.

The material in use for the implementation of the post-secondary year - apprenticeship class curricula may be drawn from multiple resources that must be valid and reliable.  Such resources are scientific papers, published surveys, conference minutes, professional and technical manuals, professional guides, technical plans and studies, work documents, training material, as well as webpages of accredited professional bodies and organisations.

In addition, the trainer can use free software and educational tools, if necessary.  Finally, the Institute of Educational Policy (IEP) has support material and guidelines for the specialties of the post-secondary year - apprenticeship class (also available via the webpage of the Ministry of Education).

Pursuant to law 4763/2020, the new “Training Guides”, which are approved, certified and  issued as stated above, include for each specialty provided by  Vocational Institutes (IEK) and Post-secondary  – apprenticeship class,  the specific 

  • educational methodology for obtaining the learning outcomes, such as learning in the training unit, learning in the workplace or internship and distance education-training,
  • teaching methods and
  • necessary equipment, where required, as well as the teaching aids.