Education in Greece
Education in Greece for Expats
Table of Contents
International Schools In Greece
Education holds paramount importance for individuals obtaining citizenship or residence permits through investment programs. Investors availing themselves of such programs inevitably worry about their families in a completely new environment. The Greece Golden Visa Program has witnessed a remarkable surge in popularity and success, leading to rapid expansion of the foreign community in Greece.
Under the Greek Golden Visa Program, individuals can secure permanent residency by investing a minimum of 250,000€ in the country. This privilege comes with additional benefits, including visa-free travel across most of Europe. Moreover, it grants holders the right to study and work in other European Union countries.
Furthermore, Greece, in accordance with the program’s requirements, offers newcomers a range of orientation and settling-in services. The country boasts numerous international institutions that provide education in multiple languages. Consequently, children unfamiliar with Greek need not adhere to the Greek curriculum in government schools. They can opt to continue their education in schools that offer instruction in English or other languages.
Greek Language Education Is Not Mandatory
Investors often prioritize the future of their children when applying for the Golden Visa. Consequently, families who relocate to a new country have concerns about the quality of education their children will receive, especially if the new country has a different native language.
However, in Greece, this is not a concern as there is no shortage of international schools that provide exceptional education in various languages. Most of these schools are situated in the capital city, Athens. Therefore, expat families can rest assured that their children do not need to learn Greek in order to attend school.
The Greek Education System
Greece boasts a rich educational heritage spanning millennia. It was among the first civilizations to establish a comprehensive educational system, fostering the growth of renowned ancient philosophers. Today, Greece upholds this tradition by offering its citizens and residents a high-quality education, with a diverse range of exceptional schools, both public and private. International students, seeking instruction in languages other than Greek, may find that private institutions align better with their needs.
The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs oversees the Greek education system, which encompasses public, private, and international schools. Notably, public schools in Greece exclusively teach in Greek but provide free education, including tuition and textbooks.
In the Greek education system, pre-school education is referred to as Vrefonipiakoi Paidikoi Stathmi, commonly known as “crèches”. It is important to note that pre-school education is not compulsory. Children can begin their pre-school education after reaching the age of two and a half.
Once children turn four, they can attend kindergarten, or “Nipiagogeia”. The Ministry of Education in Greece encourages families to enroll their children in kindergarten, as it is free of charge. However, it is important to mention that the cost of stationery equipment is not covered by the Ministry.
Education in Greece is mandatory and provided free of charge for children aged 6 to 15. The compulsory education system consists of three levels:
1. Primary School (Dimotiko): Designed for children aged 6 to 11.
2. Secondary School (Gymnasio): Intended for children aged 12 to 14.
3. Senior High School (Iykeion): Catering to students aged 15 to 17.
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Higher Education in Greece
In Greece, higher education is governed by the state. The country is home to both public and private universities, with private institutions typically charging higher fees compared to their public counterparts.
Higher education in Greece can be categorized as follows:
1. Non-university level: These programs generally provide technical or vocational training and typically last for three years.
2. University level first stage: This refers to undergraduate degrees, which typically span four years.
3. University level second stage: This stage involves the first level of postgraduate studies, which generally last for a minimum of four semesters.
4. University level third stage: This stage pertains to doctoral degrees, and the duration varies depending on the field of study.
If you plan to attend a private institution, you will need to demonstrate proficiency in the language of instruction, which is often English. An IELTS or TOEFL certificate is usually sufficient.
For students from EU countries, there are no tuition fees for a Bachelor’s degree. However, fees may apply for a Master’s degree. Non-EU students can expect to pay around €1,500 per year as tuition fees.
In terms of private universities, the cost typically ranges between €1,000 and €1,600.
International Schools in Greece
Greece is home to several international schools, primarily located in Athens, and they are highly sought-after by expats. These institutions offer a diverse range of educational options, with various languages of instruction and foreign/international curricula.
The international schools in Greece follow the curriculum models of the UK, the US, and France, with British and American schools being particularly popular. They cater to students from kindergarten all the way to high school, ensuring a comprehensive educational journey.
The quality of education in these schools is exceptional due to their well-designed curricula, and the teachers hold EU Teacher Qualifications, further enhancing the learning experience. Graduates from Greece’s international schools have a competitive advantage when applying to prestigious universities, especially in Europe and the United States.
For international students, there are several options available after graduation. They can pursue higher education in the UK or the EU as EU citizens (if they are also Greek citizens), as long-term residents, or as international students with a Golden Visa. Additionally, having a Golden Visa may entitle students to reduced tuition fees at select universities abroad.
These international schools provide not only primary and secondary education but also boast upscale facilities and abundant educational resources. As a member state of the European Union, Greece benefits from effective European education methods and ample resources.
While the number of Greek students in international schools may not be overwhelmingly high due to the country’s recovery from a long period of crisis, there are still plenty of opportunities for new residents to socialize and experience a diverse culture within these schools.
It’s worth noting that these schools offer internationally recognized accreditations such as the “International Baccalaureate (IB)”, which are highly regarded and competitive programs.
Read next our expat guide for Healthcare in Greece and the growing popularity of investing in Greece’s real estate.
Tuition and Fees of Greece’s International Schools
International schools in Greece are privately operated and require tuition fees. The annual fees range from €7,000 to €13,000, varying based on the chosen school and its policies. Additionally, the fees may differ based on the student’s age or academic level.
Furthermore, considering the exceptional quality of education provided by these institutions, these prices are remarkably reasonable. In fact, they are often more affordable compared to educational expenses in China, the US, or the UK.
Diverse and All-around Programs of International Schools in Greece
As previously mentioned, international schools in Greece uphold a remarkable standard in the quality of education they offer. This is attributed, in part, to their diverse and comprehensive programs, which equip students with a wide range of knowledge and practical skills. Consequently, these programs not only enhance the overall quality of education but also contribute to the long-term success of the alumni who graduate from these esteemed institutions.
Here is a list of international schools in Greece that offer English, French, and German language instruction:
English Speaking International Institutions:
- American College, also known as Pierce College (US)
- Anatolia College (US)
- Byron College: The British International School (UK)
- Campion School (UK)
- American Community Schools, ACS (US)
- St. Catherine’s British School (UK)
- International School of Athens, ISA
- St. Lawrence College (UK)
- Doukas School
- I.M Panagiotopoulos School
- Costeas-Geitonas School CGS
- International School of Piraeus (UK)
- Pinewood American College of Thessaloniki (US)
French Speaking International Institutions:
- French School of Thessaloniki – École française de Thessalonique
- Lycée Franco-Hellénique Eugène Delacroix
German Speaking International Institutions:
- German School of Thessaloniki – Deutsche Schule Thessaloniki
- Deutsche Schule Athen
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