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
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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