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Education in Greece
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Education in Greece

The Greek education system has three levels: primary, secondary and tertiary. Each level has two sub-levels. A child of any nationality living in Greece must complete his/her primary education and the first grade of the secondary level. Tuition is provided free of charge in state schools.

Primary education

Most children start attending preschool two years before admission to primary school, at 4 to 6 years old. For a child to be admitted to kindergarten, a small package of documents needs to be submitted: application for admission to the kindergarten, birth certificate, medical records containing proof of vaccination of the child, a certificate from the dentist and a document confirming the child’s residential or registered address. All documents must be translated into Greek.

The next level of education is primary education which lasts for six years. To enrol a child in primary school, parents will have to submit the same package of documents as they did for the kindergarten, adding a certificate of attendance to kindergarten.

Foreign students can attend special Greek language classes after school, as well as other activities alongside where knowledge of Greek is not required. The main goal of after-school activities is to integrate children into the learning process. If the number of pupils is insufficient to form groups, the school organises the after-school activities providing up to 10 hours of extracurricular Greek language lessons per week.

Secondary education

Secondary education is also divided into two levels: middle school (gymnasium), and high school (general lyceum or vocational school). Each level lasts 3 years, while part-time study at a vocational school takes 4 years.

Usually, children are automatically enroled in secondary school, unless his/her family has changed their place of residence. In this case, parents must provide the new school with a certificate of primary education and a document confirming the residence or registration address.

There are different types of secondary schools: religious, sports, music, special schools for children with disabilities, and even schools for adults who failed to complete secondary education in their adolescence.

Secondary schools use a 20-point grading system. to progress to next grade, students need 10 points. a gymnasium graduate will receive a certificate that allows him/her to continue studies in a lyceum or vocational school where, in addition to general secondary education, students receive vocational training. Students sit for their exams at the end of each school year, and their final exams before graduation. After successfully passing the final exams, students are awarded a certificate of completion, which allows them to enter higher educational institutes.

International schools in Athens

  • ACS Athens (American Community Schools)
  • ISA (International School Athens)
  • Byron College (The British International School)
  • St. Catherine's British School

Higher education

The Greek higher education system is divided into two streams: university and technological education. There are 24 universities and 16 higher technological educational institutions (TEIs), which offer more practical training.

Prospective students do not have to take entrance exams in Greece. Admission is based on one’s high school results. Among the entrance requirements is a Greek language proficiency certificate, issued by the University of Athens, the University of Thessaloniki or a Greek language centre. Otherwise, applicants have to take an eight-month language course before entering university, which costs about €500 on average.

Successful applicants are issued a student visa, covering the entire period of study and allowing free travel across Europe. Foreign undergraduate students do not pay tuition fees. Course materials are also provided free of charge. All undergraduate programmes are conducted in Greek, while postgraduate programmes are conducted in Greek and English. Students of any level can apply for scholarships and work part-time.

International students are entitled to free medical care and are eligible for free on-campus accommodation (of limited capacity). These benefits are for students only and not for language course attendees.

Many Greek universities issue a Diploma Supplement to graduates, which is a standardised description of studies completed in a format approved by the European Commission, the Council of Europe and UNESCO. This helps graduates get jobs in other European countries.

Top 5 Greek universities (QS World University Rankings 2018)

  • National Technical University of Athens
  • Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
  • National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
  • University of Crete
  • University of Patras

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