Promoting vocational education in the present reform in Greece
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Issue The recent reforms in Greece originate from a number of reasons the most serious of which is the “free” access to tertiary education institutions. Since Greek parents are over-concerned with their children’s education, admission to higher education has always been their major worry. In order to entertain this apprehension, the recent reform was focused on the structure, learning and curriculum in upper secondary education. At the same time, technical and vocational education should qualify graduates with a professional license (of first and second level) so that they can seek immediately a post in the labour market. Thus, another serious reason following this reform has been the “upgrading” of technical and vocational education. (N.P. 16/11/99)  
Measure The extensive 1997 reform mainly affects the institution of Lykeion. The former three types of Lykeion, that is, the General, Comprehensive and Technical/Vocational Lykeion are abolished and replaced by the Unified Lykeion (Enieon Lykeion). The principal changes with regard to what was in force before are: 
# The last two grades of Unified Lykeion are directly linked to access to Higher Education with the abolition of the special exams. 
# The exams of the last two grades of Lykeion are undertaken on a national basis instead of being internal.
# At curricular level three orientations are introduced: the Positive Sciences, the Theoretical Subjects and the Technological Sciences. Pupils choose one of them; they attend subjects of general education and subjects according to the orientation of their choice. Every orientation comprises three compulsory subjects and optional subjects. 
    The establishment of the Technical and Vocational Institutions (TEE) that started in September 1998, aims at making technical education more flexible so that to be able to meet the demands of the labour market. TEEs (that have not much to do with “school” education) belong to upper secondary education following the compulsory 9-year education; all secondary school graduates have the right to attend TEEs. TEEs provide vocational education responding to the demands of the labour market. The graduates are granted a level II vocational certificate at the end of a two-year tuition and, a level III vocational certificate after an additional third year of tuition, providing candidates have succeeded in the national exams. These certificates offer the right to their holders either to get a license to practise their profession or to be registered into the second grade of the Unified Lykeion. Holders of level III vocational certificate have access to studies in IEK (post-secondary vocational institutions) and TEI (Polytechnics), in departments directly or indirectly linked to the orientation of their certificate.
    The curriculum in TEE comprises subjects of general education and subjects of technical and vocational education (theory and laboratory). There are 17 sections in TEE, that in the second year of the first circle are split into orientations in order to meet the demands of the labour market; these orientations may be restructured in order to adapt to the market needs. (N.P. 16/11/99)
Impact So far, there has not been a follow-up analysis on the measures taken on education –apart from individual judgement. However, serious reaction and demonstrations from pupils and teaching staff have started from the first stages of the implementation of the reform. Although the main principles have remained the same, some amendments to secondary measures have already taken place. Particularly, the progress in technical and vocational education is still at an experimental stage and very slow, therefore we are not in the position to describe any impact of it either in education or in the labour market. (N.P. 16/11/99)  
Reference The original sources are Law 2525 (23-9-1997) on the Unified Lykeion (Enieon Lykeion) and Law 2640 (3-9-1998) on the Technical and Vocational Education. An analysis of the reforms is provided by Patiniotis & Spiliopoulou 1999a and Patiniotis 1999a. (N.P./S.M. 16/11/99)  
Author Nikitas Patiniotis  

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