Greek law requires children to go to school from age of 6 to 15. There are three stages of school before university. All children aged 6 to 12 must attend primary school or scholeion. This is followed by three years at gymnasium, and another three years at lyceum. All public education and textbooks in Greece are free and there are no tuition fees.

In most Greek high schools the curriculum includes the study of classical Greek and scientific, commercial and vocational programs. All teachers are graduates of a four-year program. Private schools charge tuition fees and have smaller classes, but follow the same course of study as the state schools. About half of the graduates of lyceum pass the university examinations and go on to university.

In places where there is not enough classroom space for all students, schools have two shifts - morning and afternoon. The standard school holidays include 15 days for Christmas and 15 days for Easter. Before 1981, students were required to wear the national colours of blue and white as their uniform. Now students may wear whatever they like.

Greece has 18 universities and several colleges. The largest universities are the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the University of Athens. There are no private universities in Greece. More women than men graduate from university. Enrolment in higher education programs has increased greatly since the 1960s. University students in Greece are also politically active.

Did you know?

The word lyceum comes from an ancient Greek word lykeion, which denoted the temple of Apollo in Athens. Aristotle established his school in Athens beside this temple.

Did you know?

In many schools, the year begins with a benediction by a priest, who blesses the children by touching them with a sprig of basil dipped in holy water.