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Greece: about the education system

Flag of Greece on Island

The culture, cuisine, climate are just a few to name. It’s no wonder why millions of foreigners run into the serene country to settle for permanent residence or citizenship.

Although Greece is a small country, it has 17 grand universities and over 30 technological institutes specialized in different categories of education and learning foundation. Education in Greece is free and no fee is paid by the students, their parent, guardian, or relative. This fact alone is embedded in the Greek constitution that “all Greek citizens and certain foreigners are entitled to free education”.

It also points to note that Greece has one of the most dedicated academic systems, with literacy rates as high as 97.16%, comparable to those of Israel, Argentina, and Germany. Are you interested in knowing more about the Greek academic system? Well, we explained the whole thing in detail for a newbie expat like you to understand.


The Greek educational system is divided into three major levels: primary, secondary, and tertiary. There is provision for an additional post-secondary level that provides vocational training to enrolled students. Expats in the country can attend any college of their choice whether public or private.

The school year runs from September to June, and students attend classes every weekday from 8 am to 2 pm. The Greek school year has 175 school days and four weeks of holidays. Schools in this part of Europe don’t make use of school uniforms.

Enrolling your child into any college in Greece usually requires the birth certificates of the child and his/her parents, the child’s vaccination certificate, and any identification document. Compulsory education in Greece starts from the age of six and ends when the student completes the lower secondary education.

Public schools are also free of charge for foreigners residing in Greece permanently. While private schools are usually branches of foreign schools in the UK or the USA and they charge tuition fees annually. School fees for private institutions differ in schools and increase as children progress.

Homeschooling is illegal unless the child has specific needs such as health deficiency or problems with learning. According to Greek laws, all children above the age of six must attend and complete primary and secondary schools. There are also international schools in Greece, most of them are landlocked in Athens and a handful in Thessaloniki.

Primary school [Dimotiká]

Primary school education is divided into two: pre-primary (kindergarten) and primary. Kindergarten is not compulsory but takes two years [sometimes three years] to complete while primary learning takes six years to complete.

red apple fruit on four pyle books

Secondary school [Lykeio]

Students at this academic level get more in-depth explanations and are rationally oriented at this level than they were at the primary level. Secondary school is also a part of compulsory education in the country and it requires an entrance examination.

Many expats prefer enrolling the children in private schools because they feel that they will get a better education in private institutions. Although private schools are well equipped and built to a standard, they usually come with a hefty price tag use of the curriculum and learning environment of most schools abroad. Secondary education is made up of two distinct phases: Middle or Junior High School (Gymnasio), and high school (Lykeion).

Middle School [Gymnasio]

This is another academic level that happens after primary education, the student proceeds to middle school where they take similar subjects with those they did in primary school. The only difference is that the ones here are more targeted and help them decide their career path.

High school [Lykeion]

High schools in Greece begin on the 11th of September and end on the 15th of June, all successful students are awarded a high school diploma called a lyceum certificate. Students wanting to attain this degree must be both primary and middle school graduates before proceeding to high school.

Vocational education

The national center for vocational education is the officiating body that coordinates and organizes post-secondary school vocational training via already established private vocational colleges.


You have to pass your entrance examination before you can be admitted to any university in Greece. Tertiary education is offered by universities, polytechnics, and technological educational institutes. University and T.E.I. graduates can further their studies to MSc and even Ph.D. if they meet the requirements listed by their department.

Undergraduate programs typically take about 4 years to complete in university, five in polytechnics and some art/ technical colleges, and six years in medical schools. While postgraduate programs take two years (MSC) to complete years or three years for Ph.D.

Cost of education in Greece

For the most part, education is free. But the tuition fee for international students studying costs around €1,300 – €1,800 at the undergraduate level. While full-time undergraduate courses are free to Greeks citizens and some permanent residents.

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