Education in Greece is compulsory for all children 6-15 years old; namely, it includes Primary (Dimotiko) and Lower Secondary (Gymnasio) Education. The school life of the students, however, can start from the age of 2.5 years (pre-school education) in institutions (private and public) called "Vrefonipiakoi Paidikoi Stathmi" (creches). In some Vrefonipiakoi Stathmoi there are also Nipiaka Tmimata (nursery classes) which operate along with the Nipiagogeia (kindergartens).
Attendance at Primary Education (Dimotiko) lasts for six years, and children are admitted at the age of 6. Along with the regular kindergartens (Nipiagogeia) and the Dimotika, All-day primary schools are in operation, with an extended timetable and an enriched Curriculum.
Post-compulsory Secondary Education, according to the reform of 1997, consists of two school types: Eniaia Lykeia (Unified Upper Secondary Schools) and the Technical Vocational Educational Schools (TEE). The duration of studies in Eniaia Lykeia (EL) is three years and two years (a' level) or three years (b' level) in the Technical Vocational Educational Schools (TEE). Mutual student transfer from one type of school to the other is possible.
Along with the mainstream schools of Primary and Secondary Education, Special Nipagogeia (kindergartens), Dimotika, Gymnasia, Lykeia and upper secondary classes are in operation, which admit students with special educational needs. Musical, Ecclesiastical and Physical Education Gymnasia and Lykeia are also in operation.
Post-compulsory Secondary Education also includes the Vocational Training Institutes (IEK) , which provide formal but unclassified level of education. These Institutes are not classified as an educational level, because they accept both Gymnasio (lower secondary school) and Lykeio (upper secondary school) graduates according to the relevant specializations they provide.
Public higher education is divided into Universities and Technological Education Institutes (TEI). Students are admitted to these Institutes according to their performance at national level examinations taking place at the second and third grade of Lykeio. Additionally, students are admitted to the Hellenic Open University upon the completion of the 22 year of age by drawing lots.
Formal education is characterized by the fixed length of study, the possibility of repetition and the award of a formal school-leaving certificate which is the official authorization.
As a consequence of the classification of the education institutions, a title (school-leaving certificate, degree etc.) is compulsory for students at each education level in order to continue to the next.
A broader analysis shows that the total of the education services provided for in Greece form a much more complex, multilevel and differentiated infrastructure. Moreover, many other educational services, classified or unclassified, are provided for in the formal education system, either in co-operation with it or completely independently.
For more information about studies in Greece please visit: Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs