School and Education in Greece


Greece’s education system is one of the most centralized in Europe. The system consists of three sections: elementary level, upper secondary level and higher education. The elementary level covers the last year of the preschool and then grades 1–6. After completing this first compulsory education, the high school continues, which covers three years (classes 7-9). High school is also compulsory. It is then optional to study in high school and higher education.

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About 7 percent of Greek primary and secondary schools are run privately. However, there are relatively few who read there. Less than 1 percent of the country’s students attend private schools.

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Secondary schools have different orientations. Students can study at the general high school (three years), technical vocational education (three years) or art-oriented education. The latter varies in length and includes, among other things, artist education and musician education.

Greece has joined the Bologna system and thus has divided higher education into undergraduate, master’s and postgraduate education. To be admitted to higher education, the applicant must undergo a college degree. The higher education is given at more than 20 universities and about 15 technical institutes or colleges.

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More than 659,000 students are enrolled in some form of higher education (2016). 51 percent of these students are men and 49 percent are women. Compared to other countries, more students in Greece choose to study higher education in another country.

Adult education has increased since 2003. It includes about 30 so-called second-chance schools, 50 adult education centers and about 40 parent schools. The latter provide distance education.

In the year 446, Athens governor, Pericles, entered into a peace treaty with Sparta that lasted 30 years and that respected each of the parties’ sphere of influence. During Pericles’ reign in the 5th century BCE, Athens developed into the commercial, political and cultural center of the region. The control over trade at sea and the accompanying prosperity enabled him to initiate several reforms of a democratic nature. The period is characterized by scholars such as Anaxagoras, the playwrights Sofokles, Euripides, Aristofanes, and Fidias who were considered the best sculptors of the Greeks. During the same period, the Greeks made great strides in science. Much of the development took place in medicine and astronomy have since been largely surpassed, but their contributions in particular geometry and mathematics have left indelible traces in today’s science.

In the second half of the 5th century, there were constant clashes between Spartans and Athenians over control of the region. The struggles of the period are known as the Peloponnesian wars. Both parties were exhausted by the continuing wars, and this allowed the Macedonian king Philip II (359-336 BCE) to conquer the region. Alexander the Great conquered new territories (336-323) and extended the Hellenic influence to North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Mesopotamia and all the way to India. This empire built by Alexander the Great over a period of eleven years contributed to Greek cultural influence in the Orient. During the years of conquest, a large number of trading cities were created and Alexander encouraged to mix the defeated peoples’ cultures with the Greek and thus became the progenitor of what is known as Hellenism. When Alexander died, the Macedonian empire collapsed and a series of wars and rebellions came to ravage the Greek peninsula.

Land area 131,957 km²
Total population 10,607,051
Population density (per km²) 80.4
Capital Athens
Official language Greek
Income per capita $ 27,800
Currency Euro
ISO 3166 code GR
Internet TLD .gr
License plate GR
Telephone code +30
Time zone UTC + 2
Geographic coordinates 39 00 N, 22 00 O

Roman colonialism

The decline of Greek civilization was due to its internal struggles, its subsequent ravages and poverty. This opened the way for Roman expansion. After a series of conquest wars, of which the Macedonian lasted from 215 to 168, the Romans around 146 gained full control of Greece.

During the Roman Empire, Christianity in the 3rd century possibly came to Greece, which was also subject to a series of invasions. It became part of the Eastern Empire in 395, whose dominance first ceased in 1204 with the formation of the East Roman Empire, which divided the region into a number of vassal states. With the shaking of the Catholic Church in 1504, the Greeks decided to follow the Orthodox in Constantinople.

Ottoman Colonialism

The Turks invaded and conquered Greece in 1460, dividing the country into 6 provinces forced to pay tribute. Turkish domination continued for 400 years despite internal rebellions and external attempts to expel the Turks – especially cited by Venice who was eager to take over the region because of its importance to trade with the Orient. First, Passarowitz peace in 1718 formalized the incorporation of Greece into the Ottoman Empire. In 1821, the Greeks revolted and succeeded in liberating Tripolitza. Here, a national assembly drafted a constitution and declared the country independent. The attempt was drowned in blood by the Turks when in 1825 supported by Egypt regained control of the city.