01 - Greece - Historical overview

The current structure of tertiary education in Greece has been established through the creation of Universities falling under Higher Education, Technological Education Institutes and other institutes providing higher vocational education. In 2001, Technological Education Institutes (TEI) fell under tertiary education. In 2003, the Military Educational Institutions were also included in the Higher Education, while in 2006 the Higher Ecclesiastical Schools were also included in the higher education, while they were renamed to Higher Ecclesiastical Academies.

Higher Technological Education

Higher Technological Education is the final phase of an evolution of the last 40 years, which started with higher vocational education. This evolution is due to the rapidly developing technology and science on the one hand and to the increased needs of the economy and society for highly educated executives on the other.

Under Law 1404/83, higher vocational education ceased to belong to the official Hellenic educational scheme under the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs (ΥΠΕΠΘ/YPEPTH), and the Technological Education Institutes (Technologika Ekpaideftika Idrymata-TEI) that were established constituted the institutions providing technological education at tertiary level.

In 2001, Law 2916 was enforced, pursuant to which the TEI have been incorporated in the Technological Sector of Higher Education and governed by the same constitutional provisions applying to Universities as far as their organisation and operation are concerned.

In 2002, the Higher School for Teachers of Technological Education (ΑΣΠΑΙΤΕ/ASPAITE), which was established in Athens in the place of the School of Teachers for Vocational and Technological Education (ΣΕΛΕΤΕ/SELETE) that was abolished, was incorporated in the Technological Sector of Higher Education. ΑΣΠΑΙΤΕ/ASPAITE includes 5 classes of Engineering Teachers of various specialities as well as a General Class of Teaching Courses, which offers teaching training to various categories of higher education graduates. Finally, by a law of 2006, maritime/marine education was upgraded and restructured, making it equal to the TEI education.

Higher University Education

Following the establishment of the first Hellenic University in Athens in 1837 and the subsequent establishment of other universities all over the country during the 20th century, the organisation and operation of universities has been determined and regulated to a great extent by the provisions of Article 16 of the Greek Constitution, which has been in force since 1975, followed by individual Revisions.

Law 1268/1982, which set the framework for the modernisation of the operation of higher education, attained a large-scale reform in Universities. This was modified and further supplemented by a series of important laws, such as Law 1404/1983, which provided for the establishment of Technological Education Institutes (TEI), and Law 2083/1992, which set forth the organisation of postgraduate study programmes that has now been standardised.

In 2001, Law 2916 was enforced pursuant to which tertiary education in the Hellenic Republic consists of the university and technology sectors, which are governed by the same constitutional provisions as regards their organisation and operation. In this context, Panepistimio (University) will mean any institute of the university sector of higher education, namely Universities, Technical Universities and the Higher School of Fine Arts.

Finally, the new Law-Framework 3549/2007 reformed and modernized the structure and the framework of operation of the Higher Educational Institutions, by enforcing their autonomy and financial independence of the institutions and the overall transparency in their operation.

Higher education is expanded through the creation of new institutes or departments and an increase in the number of students admitted on the basis of a specific urban plan so as to “open up” access to higher education on the one hand and to cover the increased demand for specialities meeting the requirements of modern society and economy on the other. Such expansion was and is still financed by Community Support Framework III. By a law of 1992, the Hellenic Open University was founded, which is an independent and totally self-governed Higher Educational Institution, the mission of which is to provide distant graduate and post-graduate education and training. Law 2552/97 regulates the operation of the EAP.

Finally, Law 3187/2003 established that the Higher Military Education Institutes (ΑΣΕΙ/ASEI) falling under the Ministry of National Defence provide training equivalent to that provided by universities. ΑΣΕΙ/ASEI are governed solely by Law 3187/2003 and the regulatory acts issued on the basis thereof.

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Date: 2009
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