Schooling Options in Greece

Vocational High School (EPAL)

To be eligible for registration in vocational high schools (EPAL) in Greece you need to be either employed and over the age of 16 or an adult. In these schools, students attend general as well as specialized courses focused on a variety of sectors such as Agriculture, Administration and Economics, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Informatics, Healthcare, and Applied Arts. There are also reception classes for students coming from foreign countries. All lessons take place in the mornings or evenings and the duration of the studies is 4 years. At the final stage, students may pursue an internship or apprenticeship to gain experience in their field of interest. Upon successful completion, students are granted a Vocational Lyceum Graduation Certificate

Lyceum (GEL)

The most common choice for Gymnasium graduates under the age of 20 years old is the General Lyceum. Classes take place between mid-September and mid-June and the total duration of the studies is 3 years. Each academic year corresponds to three grades. The 1st grade is an introductory, orientation year with classes focused on transmitting general knowledge, the 2nd grade includes three directions, namely Humanities, Science, and Technology, among which students are required to choose their direction of preference, and the 3rd grade is similar to the 2nd but the technology direction operates in two distinct courses: i) Technology and Production and ii) the Information Science and Services. Students coming from foreign countries may also attend reception classes. After the 3rd year, Lyceum graduates are awarded a Lyceum Certificate (Apolytirion Lykeiou). Students who want to access the tertiary education are required to take the Panhellenic National Exams (Panelladikes Eksetaseis) to ensure their admission to a Higher Educational Institute in their field of choice.

Evening Lyceum

The evening Lyceum (Esperino) follows the same principles as the General Lyceum but classes take place in the evenings. The school is for adult graduates of a Lower Secondary Education Institute (Gymnasium or international equivalent) and underage working students. Graduates are awarded a Lyceum Certificate which is also required for admission to Higher Education, provided that students take nationally set examinations. There are also evening Vocational High Schools (Esperino EPAL) for students working during the day.

OAED Apprenticeship Schools (EPAS)

The OAED Apprenticeship Schools (EPAS) is a 2-year vocational school where students are educated by means of the Apprenticeship System. EPAS schools combine in-class education and technical training through remunerated traineeships in the private and public sectors. Eligible students should be between 16 and 23 years old and they must have already completed at least the first grade of Upper Secondary Education in Greece (GEL or EPAL). The classes take place in the morning or evening, depending on the school, and the admission period is usually in the summer. A committee examines the applications, taking into account the candidate’s educational as well as social and financial background, giving priority to candidates who belong in vulnerable social groups and/or lack a stable and secure family income. EPAS schools are managed by the Greek employment authority, OAED. There are no reception classes in these schools, therefore a basic knowledge of Greek is required to attend the courses. You can find your closest OAED office and ask for more information here.

Second Chance Schools

Second-chance schools in Greece aim to provide adults who have not completed their compulsory education and are at risk of social exclusion an opportunity to do so at a later stage in life. Classes take place in the evening and the total duration of the studies is 2 years. The school’s curriculum is slightly different from that of formal education, in that it takes a more flexible teaching and counseling approach by focusing on the students’ particular needs. Among the courses taught in Second Chance schools are Greek language, Mathematics, English, Informational Technology, Physics, Culture, and Arts. There are no reception classes in these schools, therefore a basic knowledge of Greek is required. More information and contacts for all Second Chance Schools in Greece are available here.

Public (and Private) IEKs

IEK is a Greek abbreviation name for the Institute of Vocational Training in Greece. IEKs are post-secondary non-tertiary institutes that aim to provide adult vocational education and training and can lead to a nationally recognized certification. Students are graduates of formal non-compulsory Secondary Education (GEL or EPAL) or graduates of Vocational Schools (SEK). IEK can be public, where attendance is free, or private. The total duration of studies is 3 years, which includes four semesters of theoretical and laboratory training and one semester of internship or apprenticeship. You can find more information as well as a map of public IEKs per administrative region by clicking here.