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Greek School system - Working Page A typical day at school Pupils go to school from Monday to Friday. The school year always starts on September 11 and ends on May 31. It is traditional in Greek schools to begin the school year with a benediction by a priest who blesses the students with a spring of basil dipped in holy water. A normal school-day starts at 8.15 and finishes from 13.15 to 16.05 depending on the school. Public schools are finishing the daily program at 13.15. Private schools offer the possibility of a full-day program until 16.05. A typical day for a high school student will include arriving at school around 8:00 am (either by yellow bus, public transportation, walking or being dropped off by a parent). Students are then released to their lockers to put away their backpacks and coats and collect all materials needed for the day. In public schools students do not wear uniforms. Students wear uniforms in some private schools such as ours (only in elementary and junior high school). At 8:15 the bell rings and students have 90 seconds to quickly get to their classes. The classes last between 35 and 45 minutes. A typical day in our high school (Εκπαιδευτήρια Πάνου, ekpaideuthria Panou) which is a private school: Period 1 Period 2 Break Period 3 Period 4 Break Period 5 Period 6 Break Period 7 Lunch Period 8 Period 9

8.15 - 9.00 9.00 - 9.45 9.45 - 10.00 10.00 – 10.45 10.45 – 11.30 11.30 - 11.45 11.45 - 12.25 12.30 - 13.10 13.10 - 13.20 13.20 – 14.05 14.05 – 14.35 14.35 – 15.15 15.15 – 16.05

At break time there are lots of things to do:    

Use the school canteen Chat with friends Participate in athletic games Visit the school’s library

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In private schools like ours, students who attend an all day school program, in midday go to lunch and have the opportunity to engage in conversation with friends, classmates and their teachers. After lunch the day continues until dismissal at 16:05 pm. After lunch, students who attend the full-day program study their lessons and do their homework. In addition, they have the opportunity to engage in activities such as dance, robotics, music, etc. The students have summer vacation (about 3 months), Christmas vacation (2 weeks) and Easter vacation (2 weeks). Furthermore, students take usually another four days off in order to celebrate their two national holidays (28/10 and 25/3). How classes are made Students are divided into sections alphabetically. The distribution of pupils is not based on their performance at school or their grades. Τhe class cannot exceed the number of 30 students. Curriculum The Greek educational system is mainly divided into three levels: primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary education is divided into kindergarten lasting one or two years, and primary school spanning six years (ages 6 to 12). Secondary education comprises two stages: Gymnasio (= Middle or Junior High School), a three-year school, after which students can attend Lykeion or Vocational lykeion. Higher Tertiary education is provided by Universities and Technological Universities (T.E.I.). Primary education Δημοτικό (Primary school) Elementary schools are called "Dimotiko". In the graded, and parents obtain feedback about communications with teachers. Grading begins in introduced in Year 5. Graduating from one year to called "classes", from first to sixth: Year 1 (Πρώτη δημοτικού): age 6 to 7 Year 2 (Δευτέρα δημοτικού): age 7 to 8 Year 3 (Τρίτη δημοτικού): age 8 to 9 Year 4 (Τετάρτη δημοτικού): age 9 to 10 Year 5 (Πέμπτη δημοτικού): age 10 to 11 Year 6 (Έκτη δημοτικού): age 11 to 12 Basic subjects: Modern Greek Language (7 classes/week) Mathematics (5 classes/week) Environmental Studies (2–4 classes/week) Physical Education (4 classes/week) Music (1 class/week) 2

first two years pupils are not their performance via oral Year 3, and written exams are the next is automatic. Years are


Art (1 class/week) Theatre (1 class/week) Flexible Zone (1–2 classes/week) English (2–4 classes/week) (The classes a week for a subject may vary from the teacher who teaches) Additional Subjects: Not needed but go toward more marks Physics (3 classes/week and only for years 5 and 6) Geography (2 classes/week and only for years 5 and 6) History (2 classes/week and for years 3-6) Religion (1 class/week and for years 3-6) Social & Political Studies (1 class/week and only for years 5 and 6) Second Foreign Language (2 classes/week and only for years 5 and 6) Grading System: The grading system in the first three grades is made up of letters, with A being excellent, B very good, Γ good and Ε fail. After the fourth grade only numbers from 1 to 10 are used (9-10 excellent, 7-8 very good, 5-6 good and 1-4 fail). Academic grading in Primary School 1st Year: no grades 2nd Year: no grades 3rd Year: A-D 4th Year: A-D 5th Year: 1-10 6th Year: 1-10 Pupils who successfully complete the 6th grade receive a primary school leaving certificate which can be used to register for secondary school (gymnasio). Secondary education A. Γυμνάσιο (Gymnasium - Middle School) Πρώτη Γυμνασίου / 1st grade, age 12 to 13 Δευτέρα Γυμνασίου / 2nd grade, age 13 to 14 Τρίτη Γυμνασίου / 3rd grade, age 14 to 15 There were 5 types of gymnasiums in Greece: 1. General Gymnasium (entering there from the primary school is automatic) 2. Musical Gymnasium (to enter this type of school students must pass certain exams on a musical instrument) 3. Art Gymnasium (to enter this type of school students must pass certain exams on either arts, dance, or theater) 4. Experimental Gymnasium (to enter this type of schools students must pass certain exams on Maths, Science, Reading Comprehension and Writing) 5. Church Gymnasium

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The subjects for: 1. Πρώτη Γυμνασίου/1st Grade of Gymnasium: Modern Greek language (3 classes/week) Modern Greek literature (2 classes/week) Ancient Greek language (2 classes/week) Ancient Greek Literature (2 classes/week) Mathematics (4 classes/week) (Algebra 2 classes/week and Geometry 2 classes/week) Physics (1 class/week) Biology (1 classes/week) Geography (1 classes/week) History (2 classes/week) Religion (2 classes/week) Religious education is among the obligatory subjects. This is because there is no legal separation between the state and the church in Greece. English language (2 classes/week) 2nd foreign language (usually French or German) (2 classes/week) Technology (1 class/week) Computer studies (1 class/week) Music (1 class/week) Art (1 class/week) Physical education (2 classes/week) Home economics (2 classes/week) 2. Δευτέρα Γυμνασίου/2nd Grade of Gymnasium: Modern Greek Language (2 hours/week) Modern Greek Literature (2 hours/week) Ancient Greek Language (3 hours/week) Ancient Greek Literature (2 hours/week) Mathematics (4 hours/week) Physics (2 hours/week) Chemistry (1 hour/week) Biology (1 hour/week) Geography (2 hours/week) History (2 hours/week) Religion Education (2 hours/week) English Language (2 hours/week) 2nd Foreign Language: French or German (2 hours/week) Technology (1 hour/week) Computer Studies (1 hour/week) Music (1 hour/week) Art (1 hour/week) Physical Education (2 hours/week) Home Economics (1 hour/week) Project (1 hour/week)

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3. Τρίτη Γυμνασίου/3rd Grade of Gymnasium: Religion Education (2 hours/week) Ancient Greek Literature (2 hours/week) Ancient Greek Language (3 hours/week) Modern Greek Language (2 hours/week) Modern Greek Literature (2 hours/week) History (2 hours/week) Social & Political Studies (2 hours/week) English Language (2 hours/week) 2nd Foreign Language: French or German (2 hours/week) Mathematics (4 hours/week) Physics (2 hours/week) Chemistry (1 hour/week) Biology (1 hours/week) Physical Education (2 hours/week) Music (1 hour/week) Art (1 hour/week) Computer Studies (1 hour/week) Technology (1 hour/week) Project (2 hours/week) After gymnasio students who want to continue their studies at a university usually enrol in three year general schools (geniko lykeio). Students with special technical interests usually take the second option - they enter a vocational upper secondary school (EPAL) or vocational education training school (EPAS). Both last three years and are focused on technical, vocational subjects and workshop exercises. There are also vocational training institutes (Institouto Epaggelmatikis Katartisis - IEK) at the upper secondary level providing a formal but unclassified level of education. Teaching at IEK is based on vocational specialisation. The selection of students takes place twice a year early in September for the winter semester, and at the end of January for the spring semester. Students have to be at least 18 years old. B. Γενικό Λύκειο (General Lyceum - High School) Πρώτη Λυκείου / 1st grade, age 15 to 16 Δευτέρα Λυκείου / 2nd grade, age 16 to 17 Τρίτη Λυκείου / 3rd grade, age 17 to 18 The subjects for: 1. Πρώτη Γενικού Λυκείου/1st Grade of General Lyceum: Subjects of General Education Ancient Greek (5 hours/week) Modern Greek Language (2 hours/week) Modern Greek Literature (2 hours/week) Algebra (3 hours/week) Geometry (2 hours/week) 5


Physics (2 hours/week) Chemistry (2 hours/week) Biology (2 hours/week) History (2 hours/week) Political Studies (3 hours/week) Religion Education (2 hours/week) Project (2 hours/week) Foreign Language: English or French or German (2 hours/week) Physical Education (2 hours/week) Subjects of selection Applications of Computer Science (2 hours/week) Geology and Management of Natural Resources (2 hours/week) Greek and European Culture (2 hours/week) Art Education (2 hours/week) 2. Δευτέρα Γενικού Λυκείου/2nd Grade of General Lyceum : Subjects of General Education Ancient Greek (2 hour/week) Modern Greek Language (2 hours/week) Modern Greek Literature (2 hours/week) Algebra (3 hours/week) Geometry (2 hours/week) Physics (2 hours/week) Chemistry (2 hours/week) Biology (2 hours/week) Introduction to the Principles of Science of Computers (1 hour/week) History (2 hours/week) Philosophy (2 hours/week) Political Education (2 hours/week) Religious Education (2 hours/week) Project (1 hour/week) Foreign Language: English or French or German (2 hours/week) Physical Education (1 hour/week) The students can choose 1 of the 2 Orientation Groups: the Humanities or the Sciences Subjects of the Humanities Orientation Group Ancient Greek Language and Literature (3 hours/week) Basic Principles of Social Science (2 hours/week) Subjects of the Sciences Orientation Group Physics (3 hours/week) Mathematics (2 hours/week)

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3. Τρίτη Γενικού Λυκείου/3rd Grade of General Lyceum: Subjects of General Education Religion Education (1 hour/week) Foreign Language: English or French or German (2 hours/week) Physical Education (2 hours/week) History (2 hours/week) Greek Language (2 hours/week) Greek Literature (1 hour/week) Biology (2 hours/week) Mathematics and Statistics (2 hours/week) History of Social Sciences (1 hour/week) Subjects for selection 2nd Foreign Language Drawing(free or linear) History of Art Business Management and Organization (all 2 hours/week) The students can choose 1 of the 3 Orientation Groups: the Humanities, the Economical and Computer Studies and the Science Studies. Subjects of the Humanities Orientation Group: Ancient Greek Language (5 hours/week) Latin (3 hours/week) History (3 hours/week) Literature(2 hours/week) Sociology (2 hours/week) Subjects of the Economical and Computer Studies Orientation Group: Mathematics (5 hours/week) Economy (3 hours/week) Computers (2 hours/week) History (3 hours/week) Sociology (2 hours/week) Subjects of the Science Studies Orientation Group: Mathematics (5 hours/week) Biology (2 hours/week) Physics (3 hours/week) Chemistry (3 hours/week) Computers (2 hours/week) The students must take the Panhellenic national Examinations in order to proceed to the Higher Tertiary education. These exams are held after the students have received their Apolytirion. The students pass into a specific Higher Educational Institute based on the Orientation and Group chosen. Grading System: 7


The grading system runs on a scale of 20 to 10, with 20 being the highest, 10 being a pass and 1 being the lowest possible grade. Tertiary Education Higher education in Greece is divided into technological education institutions and universities. In Greece, there are about 22 universities and over 30 TEIs spread throughout the country. TEIs specialize in science and production. Students who cannot attend classes for any reason can enroll at the Hellenic Open University, which offers distance education. Public education: is it free? More than 90% of Greek schools are public and over 90% of all pupils in Greece attend a public institution. The Greek Constitution grants free public education to all citizens, including immigrants who live in Greece permanently. All students are provided with free textbooks and free transport if they live far from the school. Families with low incomes (less than 3,000€) receive a support of 300€ annually for each child attending compulsory education in a state school. Public education is certainly advantageous from a financial point of view, but may lack the necessary technical infrastructure and organization present in private schools. Private schools Private schools in Greece offer all levels of education. The annual fee ranges between 1500 Euros and 13000 Euros depending on the grade and school. Some of them are for foreigners, usually children of British or American families. For example the American Community Schools .One of the reasons why many parents put their children into private schools is because they believe these schools provide better quality of education. Private learning institutions implement the national curriculum and give students the same titles as those of public schools. There are also a number of private tutorial schools operating alongside the state education and providing supplementary tuition. These parallel schools (Greek: φροντιστήριο) provide foreign language tuition, supplementary lessons for weak students as well as exam preparation courses for the competitive Panhellenic national examinations. Most of the students typically attend such classes at the tutor’s schools in the afternoon and evening in addition to their normal schooling. School management All levels are overseen by the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs. The Ministry exercises centralized control over state schools, by prescribing the curriculum, appointing staff and controlling funding. Private schools also fall under the mandate of the Ministry, which exercises supervisory control over them. At a regional level, the supervisory role of the Ministry is exercised through Regional Directorates of Primary and Secondary Education, and Directorates of Primary and Secondary Education operate in every Prefecture. Local communities (local government, parents' assembly) are not involved in school management, which is conducted centrally (only by the Greek Ministry of Education). Tertiary institutions are nominally autonomous, but the Ministry is responsible for their funding. 8


Compulsory and non-compulsory education Pre-school (Vrefonipiakoi Paidikoi Stathmoi) Pre-school education is voluntary in Greece, but it is gradually being made compulsory throughout the country. Children are admitted to pre-school institutions at the age of two-and-a-half. Childcare services in Greece include crèches (vrefonipiakoi stathmoi), nurseries (nipiaka tmimata) and kindergartens (nipiagogeio). Primary school (Dimitiko) When children in Greece reach the age of six they have to be enrolled in an elementary school (or dimotiko in Greek). Dimotiko is compulsory. Lower secondary school (Gymnasio) Gymnasio lasts three years and is compulsory for children aged 12 to 15. Upper secondary school (Lykeio) After gymnasio pupils may continue their studies at non-compulsory level. Students who are interested in enrolling at university are required to enroll for a three-year upper secondary school program. Pupils with an interest in technical arts enroll in either vocational education training school or vocational upper secondary school. The upper secondary level offers formal vocational training, with student selection happening twice a year in September and at the end of January. School elections From the fifth year of the primary school to the third year of Lyceum elections are held. Elections in primary schools They are held every September. All the students are obliged to elect 2 presidiums for each class who "rule" until January when the other one succeeds the first. The role of these presidiums is to primp the classrooms for the national holidays and for Christmas. Furthermore, they transfer the complaints of each student to the school authorities. There are 4 positions: The President The Vice-President The General Secretary The Treasurer Elections in Gymnasiums and Lyceums Students meet under the supervision of their principal teacher and they elect their class councils. Before the election, they choose a jury of 3 people responsible for the good procedure. They are held every September and are divided into 2 parts. In the 1st part every student elects the Presidium of his/her class. The Class Presidium has 5 members elected by the majority: The President The General Secretary 9


The Treasurer The 1st Member The 2nd Member They are responsible to discuss with the headmaster about significant issues, make proposals and negotiate important subjects concerning their schooling. In the second part students elect a School Council which has 15 members and represents the students. Its role is extremely important in every school because the School Council takes significant decisions for all the students. Its role is to propose solutions in case of school bullying, to propose variants for outings or excursions, to contribute to the improvement of the conditions of the school life, to solve problems and to have a close collaboration with the teachers and the parents' association. The School Council has 15 members: The School President The Vice-President The Treasurer Another 12 Members 

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Elections for 5-member councils are carried out in the first month of the school year, and for 15-member student councils, in the first 45 days of the school year (and after the elections for the councils of 5 members). Students may call an Extraordinary General Meeting to remove the 5-member Class Council or the 15-member School Board and elect new representatives. At least half of the pupils (as regards the 5-member council) or 2/3 of the pupils of the school (with regard to the 15-member council) must submit this application. Each class meets once a month, and the whole school meets regularly three times a year for the last three hours of a day. The 5-member and the 15-member boards, meet outside school hours. Extraordinary general meetings can be held only outside of teaching hours. To become an extraordinary meeting of the class, it must be requested by the 5 members or half of the students in the class. To become a special assembly of the whole school it should be asked by the 15 members or 2/3 of the students. Student councils transfer requests or complaints from students in a class or entire school to the principal and the teachers' association. The Council of 15 members, attends the meetings of the teachers' association, concerning the culture, the sports and the activities of the pupils in general. School's staff

Teachers in Greek schools can only teach courses related to the subject of their studies. In addition to teachers in a public school, we meet staff working in the secretariat, staff responsible for cleaning and some employees in the school canteen. In Greek schools there is no psychologist or counselor of vocational guidance. In private schools, additional staff can be found, such as school bus drivers and general duty employees for example: concierge, school bus attendants, people responsible for the dining room of the school etc 10


Overall assessment of the Greek educational system Over the years, the education system in Greece has undergone reforms to keep up with the other education systems in the world. Despite these efforts, the country faces many challenges in its education sector. 1. The majority of teachers in public schools don’t use ICT in their teaching practice. Its use is usually haphazard and often characterized by being used as a diversion, entertainment or reward for the students. They do not feel confident when they use computers in the classroom with students. They also use a small range of teaching strategies which they choose depending on the topic at hand and the students they are working with. They prefer to stick to methods and tools they know, rather than experiment with new ones. They rarely try new teaching and learning approaches, methods and tools in the classroom. They also rarely give different tasks to students who have difficulties and they don’t spend more time with them than with those who advance faster. They lead all lessons, which are mainly focused on transmitting knowledge to students. They sometimes implement collaborative learning, allowing for studentled discussion and group work. They usually teach the same way, based on their experience of what works well. They hardly organise collaborative activities with the students. Students work on the topics individually. Finally they hardly use online communication channels and collaborative spaces to communicate with their students. 2. Another important issue is the existence of after-school paid private classes/institutes named frontistiria (φροντιστήρια). Attending those has essentially become a necessity in order for Greek students to be able to achieve high grades and succeed in their exams. Their existence undermines the public educational system. This is noticed especially as the student approaches twelfth grade, the senior year of high school, because of the increased difficulty and competitiveness of the university entrance exams, the Panhellenic Examinations. This has also been an object of criticism due to the high fees that most Greek families are called to pay to afford the frontistiria or private lessons. 3. In addition, there have been protests about the Panhellenic Examinations repeatedly, such as:   

A small number of examining tests will judge the students' future (through determining their twelfth grade education-and therefore even their future job). Modern Greek lesson's grading system is subjective and students may get different mark than they should. Exams are becoming harder every year.

The most serious problem faced by the Greek education system is the total lack of evaluation (both of the school and the teachers), which causes knotless problems in the quality of education. The Greek School addresses only to a specific category of pupils, those with good academic performance and responding satisfactorily to the traditional teaching 11


model. A large number of students, particularly in the General Lyceum, are sadly marginalized. The Greek school is unable to highlight the students' particular inclinations and to help them showcase their individual talents. Nowadays the Lyceum has been totally despised in the consciousness of both students and their parents. Katia Kretsi 2nd grade of general Lyceum Εκπαιδευτήρια Πάνου Nafpaktos Greece

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Greek educational system  
Greek educational system  
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