Special Education in Greece.

By:
Dimitris Kardarakos
Piraeus Primary Education
School Adviser

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SPECIAL EDUCATION:
THE CASE OF HELLAS ( Greece)

THE ADMINISTRATIONAL STRUCTURE OF GREEK EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM
( INCLUDING SPECIAL EDUCATION )

 

MINISTRY
OF EDUCATION

 
 

MINISTER

 
 

VICE MINISTER

 

SPECIAL
EDUCATION
OFFICE
OF PRIMARY
EDUCATION.

 

STAFFING
OFFICE
OF PRIMARY
EDUCATION

Loc

al Administrat

ion

 

NOMARCHY

 

SCHOOL
ADVISOR
FOR SPECIAL
EDUCATION.

 

SCHOOL
OFFICER OF
PRIMARY
EDUCATION.

 

SCHOOL UNITS
FOR SPECIAL
EDUCATION

 

THE TODAY PICTURE AND PROSPECTIVES

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The top management for S. Ed. in Greece takes place in the central body of the Ministry of Education .
Since the state is financing education, it retains the right to decide and therefor to control educational processes.
A uniform curriculum throughout the country is available for children with special needs in all the schools.
Though the country is divided into regions for administrative purposes no independent departures
from the countrywide uniformity of the curriculum are permitted.
Also the private sector is strictly regulated by the Ministry of Education.
In the 30th September 1985 a new educational law came into being (act 1566) and a new institution
was established in order to assist the Ministry in planning school curricula together with writing school texts.
The new institution is called Institute of Education and it has a staff of 75 members
( 30 permanent counselors,30 permanent counsellors and 15 junior counsellors under
a three or five year contract.)

The Institute of Education is to carry out whatever is related to curricula ,syllabi, textbooks,
teaching methods, teaching materials and improvements in every level of education.
But according to the centralised principle of the educational system it is the minister of education
who has the right to decide the applicability of the Institute's recommendations.
But it must be accepted that the role of the Institute seems to be very useful for Special Education
improvements. School advisers who replaced the inspectors in 1981 try to convince teachers in
special schools to modify the methods and the contents of textbooks which are send by the ministry
and are for children without special needs.
That is to say that are not special books for retarded children and teachers ask the ministry
to take care in order to produce appropriate texts this kind of education.
Thus the state policies are to bring into being special books and materials.
The number of schools that service children with special needs are considered to be inadequate
and only 13.000 children find place in these schools.

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The basic or general education is offered in two levels and covers the ages 4-18 years.

The first level consists the primary education and includes the kindergartens (4-6)
and the elementary schools (6-12 years of age.)

The second level consists the secondary education and includes the Gymnasium (12-15)
and the Lyceum ( 15-18 years of age).

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The compulsory education starts at the age of 6 when the pupil starts the 6 grade elementary school
and expands up to the end of the 3grade Gymnasium, that is 9 years of compulsory education.
The 3grade Lyceum is not compulsory.

We have not specific statistics concerning the number of children with special educational needs
and learning difficulties, but we accept the international 10% of the population being handicapped ,
and consequently we consider there are 180.000 children of school age with special education needs
out of 1.800.000 which is the total population of students in general education.-Primary and secondary.-

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In 1991 there were 37 special kindergartens 131 elementary schools 7 gymnasiums,5 lyceums
and 3 vocational schools.
As from 1984 many special classes were created in many state schools.
It is believed that these special classes serve the goals of iteration which are desirable for children with special educational needs.
In 1988 an E.U programme HELIOS was put in practice by establishing special classes in schools for retarded children who live with other bright children in the same environment.
This programme seems to be useful for the case and its results are quite satisfactory.
The ministry educational policy concerning the education of children and youth with special needs is clearly integration oriented not only in theory but also in practice.
The basic characteristic of this development is the differentiation in the strategies and methods
of providing special education programmes of the pupils who need them not inspirited and
isolated schools or institutions, but in the mainstream schools.
These strategies lead not only to the school, but also to the social integration of the children
with special needs.

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The development of special programmes in the ordinary schools is a major trend in Greece today
and obviously a good and fruitful way towards school and social itegration

 

   

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