From Researching Virtual Initiatives in Education
For entities in Greece see Category:Greece
Partners situated in Greece
Greece in a nutshell
Greece (Ελλάδα – Elláda) officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country in southeastern Europe, situated on the southern end of the Balkanic Peninsula and it includes more than 2000 islands situated in Ionian and Aegean Seas and it has a total surface area of 131,957 km2. Greece is a parliamentary republic and it’s considered as the cradle of the western culture and thought. Greece is a member of the European Union since 1981, of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union since 2001 and also a member of NATO from 1952.
Athens is the capital of Greece and Thessaloniki, Patras, Heraklion, Volos, Ioannina, Larissa and Kavala are some of the most important cities of the country.
As of January 2008, the population of Greece is estimated at 11,262,000 by Eurostat: 59% lives in urban areas and only the 28% in rural areas.
The official language is Modern Greek, is spoken by the 98.5% of population; moreover, there are some Slavic and Turkish minorities.
The widespread religion is the Orthodox Christian and the relationship between State and Church are regulated by the Third Article of the Greek Constitution.
Greece is divided in 13 perifereies (περιφέρειες) – Attica, Central Greece, Central Macedonia, Crete, East Macedonia e Thrace, Epirus, Ionian Island, North Aegean, Peloponnese, South Aegean, Thessaly, West Greece, West Macedonia – subdivided into a total of fifty-one prefectures called nomos. Greece is a Parliamentary Republic thanks to the Referendum of the 8th December 1974.
The President of the Republic, who is considered the edge of the state, is elected by the Parliament for a five-years terms, only for two mandate. The Greek Constitution, formed by 120 articles, foresee the separation of the three powers: executive, legislative and judiciary. The executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic and by the Government. The President of the Republic is the commandant in chief of the armed forces and he presides over the Defense Council. The civil authority of the armed forces is the Ministry of the national defence. The President of the Republic appoints the Prime Minister and the other Cabinet members. Legislative power is exercised by a The legislative power is exercised by a 300-member elective unicameral Parliament (Vouli ton Ellinon) : elections are held every four years by universal suffrage through a complex proportional system, with barrage at 3%. The judiciary power is independent from the executive and legislative and it comprehends three Supreme Court: the Court of Cassation (Άρειος Πάγος), the Council of State (Συμβούλιο της Επικρατείας) and the Curt of Auditors (Ελεγκτικό Συνέδριο). Greece has a multiparty system, dominated by two principles political party: the liberal-conservative New Democracy (ND), actually in power, and the social-democratic Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK).
Greece education policy
During the 19th century, have been implemented in Greece, many reforms in the education field, in relation to the structure of the system, the national curriculum and the language used for education. In 1975 the Constitution has established the new paradigm of education legislation that was introduced through the reform of the education system, one year later, in 1976. The reform in question has established a common language for education, has reformed the education division between primary, secondary and tertiary education and emphasized the modernization of curricula and the improvement of the administration and monitoring of education. The second period of reforms of the education system began in the mid-nineties and the third period in early 21 century, between 2004 and 2006. This reform, introduced important changes, like the creation of the Foundation of International University of Greece, the reform of secondary vocational training, the introduction of a new law for the assessment of education and legislative actions in relation to lifelong learning area.
In the Greek Constitution, education is identified as a responsibility of the state. The majority of Greek citizens attend public schools, in fact, there are few private schools that are supervised by the Ministry of Education. The Minister has a centralized control on state schools, sets educational curricula, he manages the staff and monitors the funds. At regional level the role of supervisor of the Minister is done through the Regional Councils for Primary and Secondary Education that operate in every prefecture. The tertiary institutions are almost totally autonomous, even if the Minister is responsible for funding. In accordance with Article 16 of the Greek constitution, education, both moral, intellectual, occupational and physical, is a basic mission for the state, with the aim of developing a national and religion conscience and provide adequate training to the future citizens.
The basic legislation is included in the following:
More recently legislation interventions made in the period 2000-2001 include :
The specific changes introduced into the education system with the Greek Reform of 2007 include: The establishment of Unified Upper Secondary School (Eniaio Lykeio) which is gradually replacing all other existing types of upper secondary school (lykeio); The procedure for admission to higher education has been changed, with emphasis on the assessment of pupils in the second and third degree of lykeio; The duration of kindergartens and primary schools has been stretched because it will gradually move to full-time; Second Chance Schools have been created specifically for teens who have already completed 18 years and have not yet completed the compulsory school; The design of a common curriculum for both primary and secondary education
A focal point of educational policy is the idea that education is a social resource and a right for every citizen. Based on laws passed by Parliament for each educational level, the State intends to render more democratic the whole process of education, decentralizing it, ensuring the participation of those who are directly involved in the process, raising the quality level provided and applying the principle of merit principle in the recruitment of specific staff . Compared to European data Greece isn’t investing many resources to fund educational projects: in fact, the percentage of GDP granted to education in 2005 was 3.98% . Also the other percentage rates are lower than the European average.
The current reform (Law 3549/2007: "Reform of the institutional framework concerning the structure and function of the higher education institutes") will be discussed extensively later, in paragraph “Higher Education Reform”.
Greece education system
Education system in Greece is subdivided in 4 levels:
The education system in Greece ranges from 6 to 16 years old and normally include the primary school (demotiko) and secondary (Gymnasio).
Law 1566/1985 determines all the details concerning the structure and organization of primary and secondary education. The same law provides that the pre-school education depends on the primary system and in this sense follows the regulations in place for Dimotiko Scholeio (primary school). In particular, the pre-school education is provided by Nipiagogeia (Kindergartens) that operate independently or in specialized centres together with the state nursery school (children's centers). The frequency of nipiagogeio lasts 2 years and after the changes introduced in 2006, was made compulsory from 5 years of age. The issues concerning the organization of nipiagogeia are governed by decisions N° F27/148/G1/160/14-2-95 of the Minister of Education. Since 1997 has been set up full time: Oloimero nipiagogeio (All-day kindergarten) was introduced by Law 2525/97. Finally, in relation to Article 73 of Law 3518/2006, the frequency at nipiagogeio begins from 4 years of age, becoming compulsory from 5 years onwards. The nursery school (Παιδικός σταθμός, Paidikós Stathmós) starts at the age of two and a half years, in institutions both public and private. They are very popular, but attendance is not mandatory.
Pre-school education is provided by Nipiagogeia (Kindergartens) that operate independently or in specialized centres together with the state nursery school (children's centers). The frequency of nipiagogeio lasts 2 years and after the changes introduced in 2006, was made compulsory from 5 years of age. The issues concerning the organization of nipiagogeia are governed by decisions N° F27/148/G1/160/14-2-95 of the Minister of Education. Since 1997 has been set up full time: Oloimero nipiagogeio (All-day kindergarten) was introduced by Law 2525/97. Finally, in relation to Article 73 of Law 3518/2006, the frequency at nipiagogeio begins from 4 years of age, becoming compulsory from 5 years onwards. The nursery school (Παιδικός σταθμός, Paidikós Stathmós) starts at the age of two and a half years, in institutions both public and private.
The Elementary school belongs to the Compulsory Education. Attendance is compulsory and lasts six years, from the age of 6 to 12.
The basic goal of the Elementary school is to ensure the children's all-round, harmonious and balanced mental and physical development. Such that, regardless of sex or origin, they have an opportunity to develop their personalities and live a creative life.
The Elementary school emphasizes and fosters the link between creative activity and the study of specific subjects, situations and phenomena, while also developing mechanisms to promote the acquisition of knowledge. The Elementary school helps children grasp basic concepts and gradually familiarise themselves with abstract thought and master the written and spoken language.
In Greece, all-day Elementary schools with longer hours and an enriched curriculum are gradually being put in place. Priority is given to children of working parents and to remedial teaching for pupils with learning difficulties and foreign pupils. Besides there are special schools and induction courses for children with special education needs. Finally, since 1996 is adopted Multicultural Education designed to meet the educational needs of social groups with a particular social, cultural or religious identity.
Pupils in Elementary school are promoted from one class to the next without examinations, provided they have attended at least half of the classes and, in the teacher's judgment, have acquired the level of knowledge appropriate to their class. At the end of each year the pupils are given a progress certificate. Elementary school comes to an end on completion of the sixth class and the pupils are given a study certificate which is forwarded to the local Gymnasium by official channels so that they can continue their education there.
Primary education is provided within the primary schools (scholeio), whether public or private. The primary schools are distributed all over the country, even in the remotest regions. Attendance is mandatory and there are no additional costs for school and for textbooks. The frequency in Dimotiko Scholeio lasts 6 years and includes levels 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. The access is possible after having completed 6 years of age. Oloimero Scholeio (All-day School) operate in parallel to the ordinary primary school, with an extended timetable and an enriched curriculum. The current primary and secondary school structure was established in 1985 with the Law 1566: this law has instituted new procedures for the designing of new curricula and textbooks. This framework has been modified and enriched with new laws and presidential decrees. There are also Idiotika nipiagogeia (private kindergartens) and idiotika scholeia operating under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and controlled by regional administrative bodies, just as in the case of public schools. They have the same organization and structure of state schools and qualifications equivalent to those issued in public.
Elementary schools are called "Dimotiká" (demotic, meaning municipal), a carryover term from a time when such schools were run by local communities. The name remains although it has been obsolete for decades. In the first two years pupils are not officially graded, and parents obtain feedback about their performance via oral communications with teachers. Grading begins in Year 3, and written exams are introduced in Year 5. Graduating from one year to the next is automatic, and pupils with deficient performance are given remedial tutoring. Years are called "classes", from first to sixth:
Enrollment to the next tier of compulsory education, the Gymnasium, is automatic. A normal school-day starts at 8.15 and finishes from 12.30 to 16.15 depending on the class and the school. The classes last between 30 and 80 minutes. The school year always starts in the second week of September and ends in the second week of June. The students have summer vacation (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).
Secondary education in Greece is divided into two levels: Compulsory Education and Higher Secondary Education.
Types of Institution This subdivision describes the main types of educational institutions that are included in secondary education.
The compulsory secondary education is provided in Gymnasio, which lasts for 3 years: from 12 to 15 years of age. The Gymnasium covers the three final years of compulsory education and constitutes the lower level of secondary education. As mentioned in the relevant law, education at Gymnasium level is designed to promote the pupils' all-round development with reference to the abilities which they have at that age and the demands which life puts on them. Specifically, it helps pupils to widen the scope of their values, to supplement and combine the acquisition of knowledge with the corresponding social problems, to cultivate their powers of verbal expression, to achieve normal physical development, to familiarise themselves with the various forms of art, to develop aesthetic judgment, and to become aware of their abilities and skills, inclinations and interests. The Gymnasiums are day schools, but some operate during the evenings. Evening Gymnasiums are open to working pupils over 14 years old. Besides, there are also Music Gymnasiums, Multicultural Education Gymnasiums and Gymnasium sport departments. Remedial teaching is available for Gymnasium pupils with learning difficulties and for foreign students. They attend special courses in the problem subjects. In parallel, there are Special Gymnasiums and induction classes for children with special education needs. Finally, since 1996 is adopted Multicultural Education designed to meet the educational needs of social groups with a particular social, cultural or religious identity. Assessment is based on day to day oral tests and the general involvement of the pupil in the learning process, on short written tests, on written tests given without warning during the school year and, finally, on written examinations at the end of the school year. At the end of the school year pupils who fail certain subjects must take a repeat examination in September. Those who fail again must repeat a year, while pupils in their final year have the right to re-sit the regular examinations. Pupils leaving the Gymnasiums are given a leaving certificate which entitles them to move on to higher-level secondary education. Besides, Gymnasium leavers of over 18 years of age may enrol at Vocational Training Institute (IEK) departments in certain specialisations, where they study for two semesters and obtain Vocational Training Certificate Level 1. There are 6 types of gymnasiums in Greece:
Subjects in the Greek Gymnasiums:
The upper secondary education (not compulsory) is provided through two types of institutions: Geniko lykeio (General Lyceum / GL) and epaggelmatiko lykeio - EPAL (Vocational Lyceum). The frequency in both types of school lasts 3 years. There are also epaggelmatiki Scholar - EPAS (ΕΠΑΣ / SS), professional schools, the frequency of which lasts for 2 years.
General Lyceum (isced level 3) The General Lyceum was set up under the educational reform of 1997 by Act 2525 and replaces the old-style Lyceum. Its goal is to develop the pupils' all-round skills and abilities and to prepare them for a responsible role in modern society. The system's main characteristics are the emphasis on general education and the wide opportunities it offers for horizontal and vertical transfer to other equivalent or higher levels of the education system. The General Lyceum consists of three classes and study lasts three years. Holders of a Gymnasium leaving certificate are admitted to the first class of the General Lyceum without examinations. Educational curricula Class 1 of the General Lyceum includes general knowledge subjects, which constitute a common core for all pupils. During Class 2 the pupils must choose one of the following orientation lessons: theoretical orientation, practical orientation, or technological orientation. However, they are free to switch from one orientation to another after mid-October each year. There are three orientation lessons in Class 2 lasting six hours a week. In Class 3 there are four orientation lessons lasting 12 hours a week. In parallel, pupils in Classes 2 and 3 attend core classes lasting 24 and 16 teaching hours a week respectively. Elective lessons are provided to all the classes of the General Lyceum lasting at least 2 teaching hours. Examination At the end of Classes 2 and 3 the pupils take examinations both at school and national level with a view to moving on to Class 3 or to obtaining the General Lyceum Leaving Certificate respectively. Holders of the General Lyceum Leaving Certificate have the following opportunities:
Besides day schools there is also evening General Lyceum offering four-year courses for young workers. There are also General Musical Lyceums, General Ecclesiastical Lyceums, General Lyceums with a sports department and General Lyceums for multicultural education, as well as Special General Lyceums and integration classes for pupils with special education needs.
With the Law 3475/2006 , it is determined that training is provided within the Vocational Lyceums (EPAL) and Vocational Schools (EPAS), which replaced the State Technical Vocational School (TEE), under the supervision of the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs. The change from the TEE to EPAL / EPAS was gradual and started in the academic year 2006-2007. The duration of the course is 3 years and is divided into 3 levels of employment: The first level includes 3 levels: I) Technology, II) Services, III) Naval; The second includes Mechanical Engineering, Electrician, Electronics, Building Works, Information Science, Economics and Management, Health and Welfare, Agronomy, Food and the Environment. The third level includes: General mechanical engineering, Car engineering, Electrical facilities, computer systems & networks electronic experts, Economics and Management employees, Tourist enterprises employees, assistant nurses, Medical & biological laboratories assistants, Pharmacy assistants, Food Technology & Control, Landscaping – Environment & Agro-tourism, Modern Business Agriculture, Merchant Marine Masters, Merchant Marine Engineers.
In addition, there are particular gymnasia and lykeia : religious, minorities, inter-cultural, music experimental and some special classes for pupils who need special education, called Secondary Special Needs Education Schools and Inclusion Classes (ΣΜΕΑ/SMEA). Other alternative secondary education are the School of Fine Arts, Sports Facilities Classes and Second Chance Schools. In state schools the attendance is free and textbooks are distributed free of charge by the state. The post-secondary education (not university) includes Epaggelmatikis Instituta Katartisis-(IEK) - Vocational Training Institutes - which offer qualifications for employment and diplomas that certify the training received. In fact, this type of institutions provides a formal professional education with the possibility to receive a Certificate or a Diploma of Vocational Training, equivalent to that of professional schools (Vocational Lyceums - EPAL). This license allows entry into the working world in both the public and the private sector. These schools accept students both from Gymnasio and Lykeio. The Vocational Training Diploma of the Organization for Vocational Education and Training (OEEK) is now recognized as a formal qualification to apply for jobs, even in the public sector (Presidential Decree 50/2001, Government Gazette 39/A/5-3-2001 on Determination of appointment qualifications in posts of public sector bodies).
In Greece there are secondary private institutions such as Gymnasia, Lykeia and TEE, but recently with Articles 9, 13 and 14 of Law 3475/2006 (Government Gazette 146/issue A/2006), were included also private Vocational Lykeia (EPAL) and Vocational Schools (EPAS): private EPAL and EPAS are organized and follow the same schedule of classes in public schools. Furthermore, as established by Law 3475/2006, there are also private Gymnasia and Lykeia, that provide education for foreigners living in Greece, as established by the Act governing foreign schools. These schools may use a foreign education program, a Greek educational program or a mixed program, both foreign and Greek. In addition, there are private Vocational Training Institutes (IEK), which are coordinated by the Organization for Vocational Education and Training (OEEK).
Higher education in Greece comprises two parallel sectors (Law 3549/2007, Article 2), university and technology. The university sector, including Universities (Ανώτατα Εκπαιδευτικά Ιδρύματα, Anótata Ekpaideytiká Idrýmata, "ΑΕΙ"), Polytechnics and Higher School of Fine Arts (ΑΣΚΤ / ASKT). The technology sector, includes Higher Technological Education Institutes (TEI) and School of Pedagogical and Technological Education. The universities are fully self-administered legal entities of public law that are financed and supervised by the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs, in accordance with Article 16 of the Constitution. Entry to these institutions depends on the performance of the examinations that are performed in the 3rd grade of secondary school.
Typologies of Greek higher education institutions
The higher education sector, including the AEI Universities, Polytechnics, the Higher School of Fine Arts (ΑΣΚΤ / ASKT) and the Hellenic Open University (EAP). The university sector of the secondary education includes Universities (A.E.I.), Polytechnics, Higher School of Fine Arts (ΑΣΚΤ/ASKT) and the Hellenic Open University (EAP). These educational institutions are funded and under the control of the state: the supervision is exercised by the Minister of Education. In Greece there are 23 universities, including the Polytechnics, the Academy of Fine Arts and the Hellenic Open University (ΕΑΠ / EAP). A particular type of educational institution is the International University of Greece (ΔΙ.ΠΑ.Ε / DIPA), operating in Thessaloniki and it is an independent secondary education institution and completely self-administrated. This University is a legal entity of public law and its mission is to provide higher education to foreigners interested in studying in Greece. To carry out this mission, the International University organizes and promotes graduate and post-graduate programs of study, using distance teaching and learning. The courses last for approximately 4 years, with the exception of certain faculties where the course lasts even 5 or 6 years. The academic year consists of two semesters, with 13 weeks of lessons and three weeks of examinations. Students complete their course of study after 4 years if they pass the examination of both the compulsory and the optional subjects. At the end of the studies they obtain a Diploma or Degree in relation to the Faculty concerned. The Universities issue certificates in the following fields:
The technology sector includes Technological Education Institutes (TEI) and Higher School for Teachers of Technological Education (ΑΣΠΑΙΤΕ / ASPA). In this area there is also the Higher Military Education Institute. The Technological Education Institutes (TEI) are under the supervision of the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs (ΥΠΕΠΘ / YPEPTH). There currently are 15 TEI and a School for the technology and pedagogy education, in the whole country, and 95 specializations offered by TEI in the following fields:
The studies last for 4 years with a total of eight semesters, which include both periods of lesson and a final semester devoted to the preparation of the thesis. During this final period, students can begin to practice their profession through a training period that will then be evaluated. After the completion of studies, students will receive a Degree.
Secondary non-tertiary education
The higher non-university education includes the Higher Ecclesiastical Schools, Higher Schools of Dance and Drama, Higher Schools of Tourist Professions, Higher NCO Schools and Higher and Police Academies. According to the constitution, vocational training and any other special training is provided by the State in institutions o the higher education level. The duration of studies in these schools can not exceed 3 years. The main types are: the Higher Ecclesiastical Schools, under the supervision of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs that will be converted to University Ecclesiastical Academies through the Law 3432/2006 and will operate as tertiary education institutions. The Higher Schools of Dance and Drama, under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture, the Higher Schools of Tourist Professions under the supervision of the Ministry of Tourist Development, Higher Schools for Petty-Officers who are managed by the Ministry of Defense and the Higher Police Academy, supervised by the Ministry of Public Order.
Academies and schools The following academies offer higher education with 4 years of studies and their graduates are equivalent to the graduates of universities. However, they operate under different terms from the universities and among other differences they have is that they are not allowed to run graduate programs on their own.
The following schools offer higher education with 4 years of studies and their graduates are equivalent to the graduates of Technological Educational Institutes.
The following schools offer higher education of up to 2 years of studies
Colleges According to the Constitution of Greece, "education at university level shall be provided exclusively by institutions which are fully self-governed public law legal persons". This prohibits private institutions for post-secondary education, colloquially known as colleges, from operating as independent universities in Greece. However, it does not prohibit colleges from collaborating with foreign universities to offer undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of study in Greece. The vast majority of colleges are offering programmes of study under franchise or validation agreements with universities established in other European Union countries, primarily in the UK, leading to degrees which are awarded directly by those universities. The monitoring of those agreements as well as of additional provisions for the operation of colleges is carried out by the Ministry of Education (Law 3696/2008, 3848/2010), but also by the respective educational authorities of the countries in which the universities are based (e.g. QAA, BAC and NARIC for the UK). Effective May 2010, with the integration into Greek law of EC Directive 2005/36 on the mutual recognition of qualifications, holders of academic degrees by universities in the European Union, including those obtained through studies at a college in Greece, have their professional rights fully recognised.
The organization of postgraduate studies is governed by Law 2083/92: universities have full responsibility for the organization and payment of post-graduate courses. All TEI may participate, in the form of consortia with Greek or foreign universities, organizing courses. With the Law 3374/2005 the TEI that have passed the assessment of the prerequisites, have the ability to provide post-graduate courses. There are different degrees of postgraduate courses: the Master and PhD. The programs of post-graduated studies are appointed by the General Assembly of Special Composition of the department and are approved by the Academic Senate. In the proposal, the following are mentioned: the field of study and the objectives of the programme, the type of the awarded postgraduate titles, the categories of the admitted graduates, the duration of the program, the courses, the teaching, the research or any other activities of the postgraduate students, the number of postgraduate students, the prospects and the needs of the relevant university in staff and infrastructure, the operational cost and the financial resources. The Minister of Education gives the final approval of the postgraduate study programmes, issuing a decision published in the Official Journal. For the organization and the operation of a postgraduate study programme the competent bodies are the following: the Senate of a Special Composition, the Committee for Postgraduate Study Programmes which operates at HEI level, the General Assembly of a Special Composition, the Coordinative Committee of the postgraduate study programmes and the Director of Postgraduate Studies . Doctoral programs last a minimum of 3 years, as determined by law. Some programs are structured while others are based on pure research. There was an increase in PhD programs due to the interdisciplinary nature of the topics related to research. In fact, both programs include teaching courses with research activities. Doctoral programs may include activities such as discussions, presentations, workshops, attending seminars or publications. The Law gives students the opportunity to create a doctoral program but only for those faculty that do not already have a post-graduate studies program . At the end of the study period there is a written thesis that is discussed publicly in front of a committee of seven academic professors.
Universities in Greece
The University of Athens is the most ancient University of the oriental Mediterranean.
The other main Universities are:
Technological Institutes of Higher Education in Country
Higher education reform
Higher education reform The existent Law 1268/82 governs the operation of tertiary education and was introduced by the Socialist Government (PASOK) in 1982. There were several changes made to this Law, in particular the 1404 Law of 1983 and the 2083 of 1992. The main innovations brought about by Law 1268/82, which drastically changed the operation of universities, are the following:
Each department is administered by: (a) the head, who is elected for two years, (b) the Administrative Council which consists of the head, the directors of departmental sections and representatives of the students and of the technical or administrative personnel, and (c) the General Assembly of the department. The director of each sector, who is elected for one year, and the General Assembly of the sector are the administrative agents.
As stated above, Law 2083 in 1992, modified Law 1268 of 1982. The main modifications were the following:
The above measures have been further modified or abolished by Law 2188/94 (Minister of Education D.Fatouros) as follows (retaining the numbering above):
Points 5, 6, 7 and 9 were deleted; 8, and 10 remained the same Special regulations concerning "guest" students and the mobility of teaching staff and students were also introduced by the new law. This is an attempt to adjust the legal framework of Greek higher education to the context of European Union and to promote co-operation with other countries. Finally, both the organisation and the functioning of the Technological Education Institutions (TEIs) is based on the Law 1404/1983, and Presidential and Ministerial decisions issued in connection with this Law. The TEIs are distinguished from the AEIs, in terms of their purpose, function (including their administration), staff qualifications and hierarchy, the length of programmes and the fact that they offer no postgraduate courses. However, their organisation and operation is similar to those of the AEIs. TEIs are oriented towards the application of recent technological knowledge and practice, while AEIs are more science and research-based institutions. Thus, the TEIs have direct links with various productive enterprises where most of the students’ practical work is carried out. TEIs are self-governing bodies enjoying academic freedom and freedom of teaching and research. They are divided into schools and departments similar to those of AEIs. Each TEI together with its schools and departments is administered by members elected by the General Assemblies in which the teaching staff, an important number of students' representatives and a number of support personnel representatives participate. The permanent teaching staff are grouped according to three scales: laboratory professors, assistant professors and professors. Possession of a doctorate is a necessary prerequisite for appointment to the rank of professor. The new law for TEIs provides for the establishment of two Advisory Services at the MoE to offer TEIs advisory support. They are: (a) the Council for Technological Education (Symboulio Technologikis Ekpedefsis - STE), (b) the Institute for Technological Education (ITE). In addition there are Regional Technological Councils whose role is to facilitate the formation of links between TEIs and productive units for economic and any other support . The legal basis for the organization of university, is the Article 16 of the Greek Constitution which declares that education is a fundamental mission for the State. In addition, it states that higher education can be provided exclusively by institutions which are legal and independent entities under the public law, and it forbids to private institutions to provide university courses. The current situation is changing: in the Greek Parliament there are extensive debates on the amendment of this article, that will enable private non-profit HEI, with some prerequisites for quality . This new Law “The Reform of the Institutional Framework for the Structure and Operation of Higher Education Institutions” was submitted to the Plenary of the Greek Parliament and was approved on 8 March 2007. This law regulates the structure of secondary education and is based on Law 1268/1982 that covers only the university sector. The technology sector has a different legislative framework (Law 1404/1983) and up to 2001 the TEI were not regarded as institutions of higher education. The new Law 3549/2007 specifies that the university education comprises two parallel sectors, university and technology, and refers to both types of institutions. This law wants to transfer more responsibility to the HEI, through the internal regulation. The status of the rector is valued: he can be elected by all students and staff and will have the power to exercise legal control and appoint the academic staff.
The most important innovations introduced by the new Law 3549/2007 obligate HEIs:
Other issues, which should be defined by the internal regulations, are added in the new Law 3549/2007:
“Our aim is to ensure that our HEIs have the necessary resources to continue to fulfill their full range of purposes. Those purposes include: preparing students for life as active citizens in a democratic society; preparing students for their future careers and enabling their personal development; creating and maintaining a broad, advanced knowledge base; and stimulating research and innovation.” [Ministers for Higher Education, London Communique, 18 May 2007]
A new higher education reform is on the way and the new law is being discussed in the Parliament during September 2011.
The Bologna Process
Greece is a founding member of the Bologna Process (1999). Beginning with 2004, intensive efforts have been made in order to implement everything agreed within the framework of the Bologna Process. While in all the other European countries reforms were rapidly implemented, in Greece delays occurred. Today, 46 countries, including Greece, actively participate in the creation and establishment of the European Higher Education Area; Greece is a member of the Bologna Follow-Up Group and was a member of the Board during 2005-2006. Greece also takes part in the Stocktaking Group and in the External Dimension Group (2005-2007). As a member of the European Union, Greece participates, within the framework of the Lisbon Strategy, in the effort to “make Europe the most dynamic Knowledge Society worldwide” and can only go along with the decision of the heads of states and governments made in Barcelona in 2002, which sets the Bologna Process as the basis for cooperation in higher education.
The most important legislative reforms and developments relating to the Bologna Process since Bergen are the following:
Quality Assurance, ECTS, Diploma Supplement
Law 3374/2005 regulates quality assurance in higher education, the establishment of the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System and the Diploma Supplement. The law establishes for the first time a national system of quality assurance in Greek higher education, which addresses both universities and TEIs. It also realizes the commitments undertaken by the Ministers of Education in Berlin (2003), complies with the European Standards and Guidelines suggested by ENQA and its partners (EUA, EURASHE, ESIB) and adopted by the Ministers of Education in Bergen (2005), fully respects the autonomy of the institutions and ensures student participation. The above law determined the obligatory application of a credit system, fully compatible with the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS), for all undergraduate and postgraduate study programmes. Moreover, Law 3404/2005 , which regulates operational and study issues, further contributed to the improvement of the quality of TEIs and established new permanent positions for the educational staff.
Recognition of Degrees
Law 3328/2005 for the establishment of a new Agency for Degree Recognition (DOATAP) was created in order to simplify the procedures for recognition of degrees and study periods. DOATAP is a member of the NARIC network.
The European Dimension, Recognition of Joint Study Programmes and Mobility of Students and Staff
Law 3404/20055, Article 23 on Joint Postgraduate Study Programmes and Joint Doctorates, gives universities the possibility to award double, multiple and joint degrees and allows the use of a language other than Greek in postgraduate study programmes. Thus, it enhances the cooperation between Greek and European HEIs, the mobility of students and academic staff and the European dimension of Higher Education. Moreover, Law 3549/2007 also stipulates the possibility to organize undergraduate study programmes in languages other than Greek.
Within the National Strategic Development Plan (2007-2013), an intergraded lifelong learning policy has been planned because Greece has significantly fallen behind compared to the other European countries. Thus, with the cooperation of the Ministers of Education and Employment, the National System of Connecting Vocational Education and Training was established and the framework for the organization of lifelong learning was created with Law 3369/2005. This law was recently supplemented with Law 3577/2007 . As far as higher education is concerned, Law 3369/2005 on Lifelong Learning enables the universities to establish and run lifelong learning institutes and have additional revenues, since they can charge fees for training courses. The substantial participation of HEIs in lifelong learning places universities at the centre of the social and financial life of the country and of the region where they are located. They provide citizens with new and often innovative and flexible opportunities for regular and distance-learning and, at the same time, they assume a key role for the adaptation of the workforce to the structural and technological changes rapidly taking place in the professional fields today. Moreover, the Hellenic Open University, whose study programmes are mainly addressed to the working population, has been facing a rapid development as new programmes were added in all three cycles and new training programmes were created.
The External Dimension of the Bologna Process
Law 3391/2005 regulates the establishment of the International Hellenic University and aims at enhancing student mobility. Moreover, as a member of the External Dimension Group of the Bologna Process, Greece organized a Bologna Seminar on “Putting European Higher Education Area on the Map: Developing Strategies for Attractiveness”, which took place in Athens, on 24-26 June 2006. The participants were mainly higher education stakeholders from the countries participating in the Bologna Process, but also representatives of OECD non-European and Mediterranean countries, representatives of the European Commission, consultative members of the Bologna Process as well as representatives of international and student organisations (ESIB and AEGEE). The Bologna Seminar meant another step forward in defining the external dimension of the Bologna Process, stressed the need to enhance and bring out the quality of the European Higher Education Area and the need for adopting a concrete strategy on the attractiveness of the European Higher Education Area, which will be the European answer to global challenges.
Mobility through Cycles, Access and the Removal of Obstacles
A series of legislations resulted in the upgrading of those institutions belonging to the non-university sector and, with the exception of the higher ecclesiastical academies, are under the main supervision of other ministries. Thus, these institutions will issue Bachelor’s degrees and their graduates will be able to continue studying in the two next cycles at universities. ─ Law 3432/2006 upgrades the status of the higher ecclesiastical academies supervised by the Ministry of National Education and their degrees become equivalent with those of the higher education institutions. ─ Law 3413/2005 allows higher military schools (supervised by the Ministry of Defense) to participate in consortia with universities for the establishment of postgraduate study programmes and research programmes (degrees are awarded by universities). ─ Law 3450/2006 upgrades the status of the merchant maritime academies (supervised by the Ministry of Mercantile Marine) which are currently able to participate in consortia with universities for the establishment of postgraduate study programmes and research programmes (degrees are awarded by universities). Moreover, Law 3475/200612 regulates, among others, the access of secondary vocational education students to the higher technological sector.
Full participation of students in the governance bodies of HEIs has been ensured. Moreover, student unions participate in the National Council of Education, while Law 3374/2005 on quality assurance has also ensured students’ participation in quality assurance procedures. In addition, the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs has signed Law 3443/200613, which enacts local youth councils and their participation in local governance, so that young people can become active citizens.
Administration and finance
The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs (ΥΠΕΠΘ/YPEPTH) is responsible for the administration of all the schools in the country: an administration carried out through the Central and Regional Services and through councils of a consultative and scientific nature that have been created and function in the Ministry’s Central and Regional Services. Higher Education Institutions (AEI), are self-administered legal entities under public law and the Minister exercises supervision and monitors the legality of their actions and decisions through the Ministry’s central services.
The Minister of National Education and Religious Affairs has the main responsibility for the planning and implementation of the education policy. In his/her task is seconded by two Deputy - Ministers who have specific areas of responsibility. Under the Minister of Education also come: the General Secretariat for Youth (ΓΓΝΓ/GGNG) whose task is to secure and promote the rights of young people; the General Secretariat for Adult Education (ΓΓΕΕ/GSAE) responsible for planning, co-ordinating and implementing policies on a national scale and with regard to Greek expatriates, actions related to Lifelong Learning and especially: basic adult education, general adult education and training, socio-cultural training and education, open distance learning, as well as training of trainers. Lastly, under the Ministry of Education also falls the General Secretariat of Religious Affairs that supervises the application of the government policy in the field of religion. The administrative structure of the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs (ΥΠΕΠΘ/YPEPTH) includes a vertical structure of Departments, Directorates, General Directorates and Integrated Administrative Sectors. There are six Integrated Administrative Sectors (University Education, Administration of Community Support Framework Programmes, Greeks Abroad and Inter-Cultural Education, Studies, Training and Innovation Issues, Technological Higher Education, Audiovisual Teaching Aids, Education TV, Libraries and Historical Archives) headed by Special Secretaries, appointed by a joint decision of the Prime-Minister and the Minister. The Heads of the General Directorates are Directors General that are selected from among the permanent administrative officials by a Special Service Council. They are responsible for planning activities, coordinating the operation of the Directorates and Administrative Sections under them, evaluating the policy pursued in their sphere of competence and drafting proposals to be sent to the political leadership of the Ministry of Education.
In the context of the education decentralisation policy, Administration is exercised at a Regional Level by the Regional Education Directorates while, at a prefectural level, by the Directorates and the Primary and Secondary Education Offices, Regional Service Councils and Education Committees. For administering and monitoring the operation of Primary and Secondary Education Institutions there is the Regional Education Directorates which relate directly to the Minister of National Education and Religious Affairs. Each Regional Education Directorate consists of the following Departments: a. Administration, b. Scientific-Pedagogic Guidance of Primary Education and c. Scientific-Pedagogic Guidance of Secondary Education.
At local level (municipality or community), there are Scholikes Epitropes (School Committees), Municipal or Community Legal Entities, that manage the funds allocated to cover operating expenses for one or more Primary and Secondary schools depending on the local needs as evaluated by the competent local authorities. The School Committees are assigned to manage the budget for the operational costs of Primary and Secondary Schools and to support the administrative operation of school units.
The sources of funding of Greek university are the regular state budget and the Program of Public Investment, which has two levels, one national, financed with national funds, and the community one, which includes European funds (Operational Programme for Education and Initial Vocational Training – O.P. “EDUCATION”, 2000-2006). This second type of funds include the modernization of university education and the creation of new infrastructures, studies and materials and funds for research. The Minister of Economy and Finance, Minister of Education, Universities and TEI are the entities involved in the distribution of funds, both those of the state budget and those of the Program of Public Investment. Although it is an informal process, as a good practice, the Minister of Education along with the Rectors’ Conference and the Conference of the TEIs’ Presidents agree upon the total amount and the allocation of funds. Then, each individual HEI cooperates with the Ministry of National Education in order to define the annual amount based on the Unified System of Allocation Criteria of the regular state budget. The budget allocated to education is increasing year after year, and a satisfactory rate is assigned to university education. In compliance with the OECD, in 2003 was dedicated to education university the 1,3% of GDP: according to Eurostat data, Greece is the European country to increase their funding for higher education, with a approximately 98% (EU average: 82.8%); on the contrary, the contributions that come from households and private funds are approximately 1% . In fact, Greece is one of six states of the European Union that does not require charging for university education. The funds for universities and TEI come regularly from the national budget and are used primarily for operating expenses that include: the payment of teachers and research staff, students’ blackboards and textbooks and teaching materials. In relation to the budget of 2007, about 1.5 billions of euros have been allocated to universities, TEI and to the Academy of Athens, while 832,000 euros are for the Hellenic Quality Assurance Agency. The funds of the Public Investment Program is intended to infrastructure, studies and educational materials.
Until 2005 there was no system of quality assurance in university education, until it was enacted with the 3374 Law . This law has established a quality assurance system for the entire university education, which includes both the technology sector and the university one. This law complies with the European standards and guidelines suggested by the European Association of Quality Assurance (ENQA) and its partners (EUA, EURASHE, ESIB / ESU), which were adopted first by the Ministry of Education in Bergen. The Greek Quality Assurance System includes:
The university system evaluation is coordinated and supported nationally by an independent and specific authority for the assessment, called the Hellenic Quality Assurance Agency (HQAA) and supervised by the Ministry of Education. The Hellenic Quality Assurance Agency (HQAA), established by Law 3374/2005, also has a consultancy role since it keeps the competent bodies of the state and the higher education institutions informed on current international developments and trends in the relevant issues.
This agency is based in Athens and is made up of 15 members appointed by the Minister of Education who remain in office for 4 years and can not fill this role for more than twice, whether consecutive or not, and are also allowed foreign experts. The President must be an academic with an internationally recognized authority and with a significant research activity, preferably with experience on qualitative issues and on the development of the education system. The other members are representatives of the academic staff of universities and technology institutes, students, researchers and social partners. This agency ensures the transparency of the evaluation procedures and its mission is to support the organisation of the university education through the implementation of procedures: improving the quality of university education by informing the state and HEIs on international developments and trends, promoting research in the area. In particular, some of the major responsibilities for HQAA are:
The law divides the evaluation process into two levels: the internal and external evaluation. The internal evaluation is the first step for the external assessment and is carried out by each academic unit (that is the subject of the evaluation) and consist of the systematic assessment and recording of instruction, research or other activities in relation to the objectives and mission of the HEI . To take part in this internal evaluation, which lasts two semesters, are research and teaching staff members, scientific and administrative staff member and student representatives. The criteria and evaluation indices concern the quality of teaching and research activities, the quality of study programs and other services provided by HEI. These indices and criteria are standardized and specified under the guidelines of HQAA and depend on the field of studies of each academic unit.
The internal evaluation is being conducted under the responsibility of each academic unit in cooperation with the Quality Assurance Unit, a body found in every HEI to coordinate and support the assessment procedures. An internal evaluation report contains cumulative information with quantitative data on students, teaching-research staff, educational and other scientific staff, administrative staff, infrastructure, student welfare etc. The HEI’s Internal Evaluation Report is compiled every two years by the QAU and sent to the HQAA. The external evaluation process is repeated every four years at the latest with the cooperation of HEIs and the HQAA. The external evaluation is carried out by the External Evaluation Committee (EEC), which consists of five members from the register of independent experts kept at the HQAA. One of the members of the EEC may be nominated by the academic unit under evaluation but the remaining members are elected by the HQAA. The participation of at least one foreign expert and one representative from a professional or other scientific union in the External Evaluation Committee is also desirable. The EEC takes into consideration the self-evaluation report and makes an in situ visit to the evaluated academic unit, which has to facilitate as much as possible the committee’s work with supplementary information, discussions and contacts with the members of the academic unit. The EEC compiles the draft external evaluation report with the secretarial and administrative support of the HQAA and this draft report is then notified to the academic unit under evaluation, which then has to submit its remarks within a fifteen-day time limit from the date of the notification of the draft.
The external evaluation is completed within four months with the External Evaluation Report which is submitted to the HQAA. After the evaluation processes have been completed the HQAA makes the External Evaluation Report public. The External Evaluation Report includes the independent experts’ analyses, findings, and recommendations for the measures that need to be taken in order to improve the quality of the task of the institution. There is only one body with the task of the recognition of foreign degrees and periods of study: the National Academic Recognition and Information Center (Hellenic NARIC – DOATAP): it is responsible for the recognition of study titles issued by foreign higher education institutions, both universities and foreign technological institutions and for providing information on studying in Greek HEIs. The Hellenic NARIC is located in Athens and is supervised by the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs. The Hellenic NARIC also has a consultancy role on issues concerning the recognition of foreign degrees and is the responsible body for the elaboration of the Action Plan for Recognition submitted in the London Ministerial Conference .
Greece's HEIs in the information society
Towards the information society
Today one of the main priorities of Greek educational policy is continuous improvement, with respects to the integration of ICT, into the educational sector. Numerous actions have been implemented and are being further developed in relation to ICT integration; such actions are coordinated by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs in the framework of the Information Society Programme . In the framework of this programme, the infrastructure (broadband connections across the country, networks, and computer equipment) is being further developed and maintained, digital content and services (educational software, educational portals, educational services, e-management) are being enriched and expanded and teacher training continues to emphasise the exploitation of new technologies in educational practice. Moreover, the following pilot Actions are being planned and implemented: the distribution of laptops to students, the development of the “ideal school lab”, the development of virtual teacher training, virtual learning environments and virtual content management systems, on-line interactive educational TV. At the same time, the Hellenic Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs has launched a coordinate effort for the utilization of ICTs and their incorporation into the everyday educational procedure. This effort is implemented in the fields of the third Community Support Framework mainly from the Operational Program of Information Society, (OPIS) under the direct supervision of the General Secretary of the Hellenic Ministry of Education and with the support of the Hellenic Ministry of Education Information Society office and the "Strategy for ICTs in Education" Committee. It is constructed onto four lines of action:
The aims of this Strategy are:
Information society strategy
Since 2002, there are activities targeted to the elaboration of a systematic approach towards :
The Digital Strategy 2006-2013 is addressed to the challenges of the 4th Community Support Programme and i2010:
The digital strategy 2006 – 2013 replaces the “white paper” for the information society and strengthens the role of the existing Operational Program for the Information Society, by re-examining its goals. At the same time, the new digital strategy meets the challenges of the 4th Operational Period (2007-2013) and is compatible with the new European policy for the Information Society “i2010” and with the “Jobs and Growth” action plan, both of which were outlined in the first semester of 2005.
Virtual Campuses in HE
Interesting Virtual Campus Initiatives
In 1992, while attempting to reform the institutional framework of higher education the establishment of the Hellenic Open University (Elliniko Anoichto Panepistimio - ΕΑΠ/EAP) was decided. HOU is the only HEI that providing distance education at all three levels (undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate) as well as training courses. It was finally established in 1997 and began operating in 1998. Like all the other public universities in Greece, the Open University is a legal entity of public law, completely independent and autonomous . It was established by Law 2083/92 and it is seated in Patras but various activities such as consultative meetings and exams are organized in eight Greek cities (Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras, Heraklio, Ioannina, Xanthi, Piraeus and Larissa). HOU’s overarching characteristics were defined and formed by the first administrative committee’s decisions (time period 1995 to1997) and was significantly informed by the British Open University model. This historical legacy significantly influenced the formation and operation of the institution . The model of the tutor-counselor, as employed at the British Open University (Sewart, 1980), has also been adopted by the HOU. HOU’s planning and organization of its program offerings are based on explicit goals, clear guidelines, and detailed instructions to guide its students and its tutors. According to its instructional publications, HOU adopted Holmberg (1989) ideas on the central role distance learning materials play in students’ mastery of distance learning studies. HOU also faces internal and administrative challenges, some of which do not support or assist in developing its distance learning methods that can be easily delivered via ICT. The HOU, nonetheless, is welcomed and supported by most Greeks, primarily because it offers them a second choice and, sometimes, a chance at accessing the fruits of education. In the academic year 2006-2007, HOU served 15,026 undergraduate and 8,624 graduate students enrolled in six undergraduate and 24 graduate courses .
The mission of the Hellenic Open University (ΕΑΠ/EAP) is to provide distance undergraduate and postgraduate education and adult education, by developing and utilising appropriate educational materials and teaching methods. Among the goals of the HOU is to promote scientific research in a flexible and innovative way and to develop technology and methodology in the field of distance learning and also to offer University studies to those who cannot attend classes or laboratories for whatever reason. The ΕΑΠ/EAP organises:
During the process of student selection, priority is given to applicants who are over twenty-three years of age, therefore, most of the students are employed and their average age is of 30-40 years old. Moreover, students with special needs are admitted to the Hellenic Open University and the available places for them amount to an additional three percent of the set number of places for undergraduate study programmes. For admission to an undergraduate programme a high school degree is necessary. The number of applicants is usually much greater than the number of offered places and this why candidates are selected by electronic lot in the presence of a district attorney for ensuring transparency. HOU has introduced some innovations in the Greek higher education system. These are :
HOU consists of four schools: the School of Humanities, the School of Social Science, the School of Science and Technology and the School of Applied Arts. These schools award Bachelor, Master and PhD degrees and certificates of training or of attendance. The average time for studies is six or seven years for the undergraduate studies and four years for the postgraduate studies. HOU is a rapidly developing higher education institution. Only two study programmes in 1998 compare to the thirty-one that operate today (2006-2007).
At the same time, there is a rapid yearly increase in the number of students, and the number of applicants exceeds the offered places of study.
The objectives of the Hellenic Open University (ΕΑΠ/EAP) are achieved through the use of methods of teaching and learning from a distance. These methods are based on high quality educational material which must be appropriately developed in terms of both form and content in such a way as to guarantee high quality self-education and frequent assessment of students. This material is traditional (books, notes, evaluation forms), audio-visual (sound tapes, videotapes, optic discs) and in any other electronic form (multimedia and Internet). Most educational materials used by HOU are original, that is they are created by a team of experts. This team, for example, determined responsibilities and frames within which each team member operated. Members included: a writer, who wrote the material following particular specifications demanded by form and content; an academic responsible for each program; a reader, who ‘fact checked’ the study texts for scientific quality; and, finally, a DE expert who ensured that all texts complied with the pedagogical principles needed to support effective DE delivery. Construction of distance pedagogical scientific knowledge, within the creation of original educational material produced by HOU, reflects: a) strong classification of material based on strict specifications and the involvement of special scientists in the scientific area that ensure the scientific validity and reliability of HOU’s learning materials, b) strong framing because the relationship and terms of collaboration are pre-determined and everyone works on specific, known, and irrefutable rules. In certain cases were the writers were unable to adapt their work to the specifications required, projects were cancelled . The pedagogical practices, as formulated in the HOU, with the criterions of the ‘power of framing’ and ‘PECS’ are now examined :
HOU uses a comprehensive regulatory framework to support its students. As such, strong framing exists concerning ‘relationships’ cultivated inside the institution itself. Indeed, HOU is uses clearly defined hierarchical relations of power on two levels:
The methodology used for EAΠ/EAP Undergraduate Programmes of Study is that of distance learning, which for each thematic unit includes:
The undergraduate students can attend the programme of studies of their choice from wherever they live in any region of the country or abroad. The tutors’ meetings with the students will be held in the following cities: Patras (ΕΑΠ/EAP head offices), Athens, Thessaloniki, Herakleio, Ioannina, Xanthi, Piraeus and Larisa. As regards the ΕΑΠ/EAP Postgraduate Programmes of Study leading to a Postgraduate Specialisation Diploma (ΜΔΕ/MDE) or to a Certificate of Postgraduate Study, the methodology used is also that of distance learning, which for each thematic unit includes:
The postgraduate students can attend the programme of studies of their choice from wherever they live in any region of Hellas or abroad. The tutors’ meetings with the students will be held in the following cities: Patras (ΕΑΠ/EAP head offices), Athens and Thessaloniki.
To complete the undergraduate programme and be awarded a degree, the student must successfully complete and be examined in at least twelve (12) Thematic Units. The student selects from one (1) to three (3) Thematic Units per year .
Postgraduate Specialisation Diplomas (ΜΔΕ/MDE)
For students to complete their postgraduate studies and receive their MDE, they must have completed and been successfully examined in four (4) thematic units. Another requirement is a thesis that reflects the content of one or two Thematic Units according to the programme. For students to complete their postgraduate studies and receive their Certificate of Postgraduate Study, they must complete and have been successfully examined in one (1) Thematic Unit (duration of studies at least one academic year).
Comparing the educational practices between HOU and conventional Greek universities, however, is like comparing apples to oranges. While traditional universities operate in a teacher-centered context, HOU students are placed at the epicenter of HOU’s educational process. HOU students must learn how to learn at a distance. Clearly, this demands more flexible practices on the part of HOU in terms of providing student support, from writing student-centered educational materials designed to meet the needs of adult learners learning at a distance, to the level and dynamics of online communication between students and tutors, to the support of student-centered learning, to the deployment of Group Advisory Meetings, and most importantly motivating students to cognitively process and synthesize and learn the course materials by themselves with only a tutor there as a “guide on the side” to help them succeed in their learning journey. In the last case, elements of interpretative epistemology enter the HOU, which is aimed at making the institution friendly and accessible to its students by supporting and encouraging their self-driven effort for education and training. The majority of HOU’s students are busy adults juggling family and work responsibilities, while studying part time. HOU’s role of the tutor, which is based on the British Open University exemplar, currently shows weak framing in terms of students-tutor relationships. This is why the development and deployment of ICT is helpful for the success of HOU’s students. Such technologies not only help build working relationships between tutors and students, but also help students to help themselves to the panoply of online resources and educational materials that can help them learn at a distance. Unfortunately, HOU currently lags behind many other open and distance education institutions in the world, specifically in terms of incorporating and using ICT to support and aid students in their learning. The lack of suitable online educational (digital) materials, coupled with the reality that computer and Internet usage in Greece – primarily due to high cost of access – remains low, means that HOU faces significant challenges in terms of supporting students using ICT. The good news, however, is that this is slowly changing, as reflected in the high-level use of ICT by the HOU for administrative purposes.
Aristotle University in Thessaloniki is innovative since 1995 where takes place the first pilot applications for the exploitation of new technologies in education within the 1st EE funded project. Since 1997, there is an important effort to transform the bigger university in Greece in dual mode university that can provide a great part of graduate and postgraduate programs with both traditional methods and distance learning, with the creation of 6 virtual tele-classes and one tele-conference room. Academic community members can participate in distance learning activities, educational seminars and conferences with experts. A great number of teleconferences sessions took place within these last 8 years between Aristotle University and other academic units all over the world, where students and faculty from all participating universities had the opportunity to attend lectures, to participate in international conferences and to effectively train through seminars professionals such as teachers in all levels of education in new technology aspect.
The University of Macedonia, located in Thessaloniki, has a great laboratory with a significant experience and expertise in coordinating and participating in a large number of national and international research projects under FP5/IST, FP6/IST, Interreg. The laboratory has also provided consulting services for the European Commission as well a number of national organizations e.g. Ministry of Interior, Prefecture of Thessaloniki, Region of Central Macedonia etc. and it has collaborated with a large number of major academic institutions, research organizations, private enterprises and public authorities in Europe. There are many completed and running projects in this area, both Greek and European; for example, Innovative Enterprise Architecture Education and Training Based on Web 2.0 Technologies (EATrain2). The aim of the EATrain2 is to identify the training and educational needs of employees in both public and private sector and of university students and to fulfil these using innovative pedagogies and practices based on Web 2.0 technologies and active, problem-based learning approaches. The main result of the project is expected to be: the empowering of Universities, VET organizations, students and employees through innovative training, teaching methods and practices based on Web 2.0 technologies. EA training and teaching material for students, public employees and private employees and an education and training platform based on Web 2.0 technologies.
The Asynchronous eLearning Platform is a complete Course Management System that supports Asynchronous eLearning Services via a simple web browser. Its goal is the incorporation and constructive use of the Internet and web technologies in the teaching and learning process. It supports the electronic management, storage and presentation of teaching materials, independently of the spatial and time limiting factors of conventional teaching and creating the necessary conditions for a dynamic teaching environment. The introduction of eLearning into the traditional teaching process provides new capabilities and allows new means of interaction between students and teachers, through a contemporary technological peak environment. The Open eClass platform, used by the University, is a complete Course Management System. It is the solution offered by the Greek Academic Network GUnet to support Asynchronous eLearning Services. It is mainly designed, developed and supported by the GUnet Asynchronous eLearning Group and is distributed for free as open-source software. The incorporation of asynchronous eLearning services offers new possibilities in education, providing interaction and constant teacher-student communication. It is said, at the same time, that electronic organization, storing and presentation of educational material, regardless the limiting factors of place and time of typical teaching, is supported, forming the conditions of a dynamic educational setting. The Open eClass platform is designed with the goal to bring new actions that promote its corporate utility in the already existing educational patterns into effect. The main user role is that of the teacher who can create practical and functional electronic courses easily and quickly, using the educational material provided (note, presentations, texts, pictures, etc). At the same time, students attain an alternative entry channel to the knowledge offered. Finally, the Open eClass platform supports all asynchronous eLearning services without boundaries and limitations, and the platform access is achieved via a simple web browser without any demand of specialized technical knowledge . The adult education modules based on the Distance Learning model were designed in response to increased education requirements in various job environments. They spin around 5 thematic units in the field of finance and last from 5 to 9 months. Upon successful completion of the academic requirements, adult students receive a Certificate of Studies. In particular, the University awards Certificates of Training and Certificates of Specialisation, each reflecting specific programme choices by the students. Eligible candidates to the University’s adult education programme are University and T.E.I. graduates and secondary education graduates with previous experience. Candidates are selected on the following criteria: Grade Point Average of Degree or Graduation Diploma (Apolyterio) and priority with respect to application filed. Candidates are required to have access to a personal computer and the Internet. Fees vary with respect to the thematic unit selected .
The Pandeion University for Social and Political Sciences in Athens in order to provide complete long life education and training for Social and Political sciences issues has proceeded in the production and development of various educational applications, such as distance learning, telematics and multimedia. These applications aim to educate and train the instructors that are necessary for the implementation of the multiple purpose training and seminar carriers all over the country.
The Tele-education Centre of the Athens University of Ecomomics and Business materializes an application for the development of distance learning environment through the Lab. of Business Information Technology. The pilot web courses in the asynchronous distance learning environment concern web courses for :Internet and E-commerce, Database for Business applications, Principles for the design and Implementation of Information systems and Business Information Systems, specifically created to support the needs of executives. The Teleducation Center is fully operational, serving the current needs of the Institution. The scope of the Tele-education Center is:
During the last few years, a real-time multimedia, distance learning classroom has been created. This specially designed classroom can function either independently as a multimedia classroom, equipped with audiovisual and digital devices, which assist and improve educational process or as a virtual, distance learning classroom. The classroom is equipped with state-of-the-art network and audiovisual devices, which allows for full duplex communication among this and other classrooms. The design and the equipment of the classroom enables high interaction among participants of a course delivered simultaneously in different classrooms, by simulating all operations taking place in a traditional classroom, thereby creating a virtual classroom.
The University of Piraeus through its Network Center supports a number of WWW course tools, available only for potential students. In order to enter the specific web tutorial page the student has to create a personal account. It is an asynchronous distance learning environment. These specific web courses refer to various issues such as cardiological events and tooth hygiene. The Computer Centre of the University of Piraeus aims at facilitating the educational, administrative and research work of the University. Students of all departments are having Computer Science courses and practice in four fully equipped laboratories at the Computer Center with 85 workstations. In addition, the Computer Center supports the research work of the University by providing every possible assistance in both the uses of computer applications and equipment. In almost every administrative function of the University there have been applied modern methods of organisation using computer systems. More specifically, many applications have been developed covering the needs in student’s records, in the main University library and in the other Administrative Departments (Accounting, Finance, Personnel etc). It should be specially mentioned that modern office automation computer systems and desktop publishing applications are extensively used by the academic and administrative staff thus providing high level services. Most of the research projects are supported by the University Central Computer system (DEC 5810 Risk) in which there have been installed many Relational Data Base Management Systems, programs for economics and statistical analysis, expert systems, computer language compilers etc. This main system is connected through the Ethernet Network with Unix Workstations over 200 PC’s used in education, 50 Apple Macintosh systems for office automatic projects and other special devices such aw plotters, scanners etc. The Computer Center also provides communication facilities with other Universities, Institutions and Research Centers all over Greece and abroad, mainly through its Internet Server System DEC Alpha 1000. The Network Management Centre (NMC) of the University of Piraeus is located in its central building and is responsible for:
The University continually invests on improving its network structure using up to – date technologies and on developing telematic applications for teaching and research purposes.
The University of Ioannina provides a Computer and Media Centre that organises all computer services for teaching and research operations and administers the campus-wide network, which includes access to global computer networks. More than one hundred personal computers are directly accessible to students. Regularly offered information courses and a number of supervisors provide all necessary assistance for users. There are also facilities provided by the Media & Documentation Centre that include a variety of production capacities as well as archive materials in the field of audio-visual media. Among these is a fully equipped broadcasting studio, equipment for electronic editing, and video producing, and a photo lab. Besides lecturers, students do have access to all facilities if they work on supervised projects. In the University of Ioannina there is also a Open and Distance Learning Centre: as regional office of the German Open University, the Centre gives support to students who are enrolled at the Open University by supervising their studies and preparing for exams. A stock of self-learning material (print and audio-visual media) is available to both Open University and University of Lueneburg students.
The University of Thessaly Network Management Centre, in cooperation with GUNET, offers the following pilot services: videoconference and tele-education over IP, videoconference, Video on Demand, concerning the live transmission of TV programs and local radio station program through Internet. The Network Centre of the University has already set up a fully-equipped videoconference room in Trikala, for the Department of Physical Training Science. The video teleconference room has already been successfully used for synchronous distance education sessions in physical training science issues for the students and for similar post- graduate courses attendance.
Information technology education is a necessity of modern times. The introduction of IT in education is based on two paradigms: • IT as an autonomous knowledge-base that needs to be introduced in the curriculum. • IT as an interdisciplinary research and learning tool.
The availability of instant access to IT allows both teachers and students to familiarize themselves with technology and supports educational needs of the department (demonstration, group work, communication, information database access …).
The aim of this Centre is the creation and maintenance of network of support of unified services that interlink all the buildings of University Thessaly, in all the cities of Thessaly in which the University allocates installations, as well as the offer of high quality of services of telephony, transport of data, and picture. More concretely the work aims in the concretisation:
The network of support of unified Services provides in all the members of Academic community the possibility of most rapid connection with the Internet and access in world scale sources of information. It offers the possibility rapid and qualitative communication between the installations of University Thessaly. It allows the import of new technologies in the education (multimedias, education by distance) research and administration. It upgrades the Programs of Study and strengthens the collaboration with other Academic institutions of country and abroad. It contributes in the interconnection of University with local productive and administrative institutions.
The University of the Aegean has been the first Greek University to fully utilise Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)into its everyday activities, and thus implementing the Information Society in Hellenic higher education. The University of Aegean has achieved to connect through the Aegean-net all university units in different islands on the Aegean Sea, the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Rhodes. The Aegean-net project offers the proper infrastructure and know-how to these remote geographically locations and aims to use for research/educational purposes.
The Network of School Innovation (NSI) is the focal activity of “Protovoulia” . The main goal of the NSI is to provide training and support to K-9 teachers and schools in order for them to establish those conditions which favor sustainable educational innovation within the school environment. The NSI addresses many aspects of school education and introduces a state-of-the-art pedagogical approach to instructional, competence-based design and assessment, deploying the Key Competencies (the new literacies) agenda, while it proposes action on two tracks: the school development and the teacher professional development.
The official repository of the Ministry of Education, Life Long Learning and Religions providing all the textbooks in digital form (e-books). The visitor can find textbooks for primary, secondary, upper secondary and professional education. http://digitalschool.minedu.gov.gr
The e-Learning programs are being implemented via a user friendly software (educational platform) adjusted to the Distance Learning Principles. The educational platform on use is a portal through which the electronic classrooms are being managed and through which the users can have access in them. The Vocational Training Center of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens has been accredited (accreditation paper) from the National Accreditation Center for Continuing Vocational Training (E.KE.PIS.)