Education in Greece: A Guide For Expats

Updated: 30 March 2023

The Quality Of Education And International Schools In Greece

Education is the first concern for people who receive citizenship or residence permit through investment programs. Every investor who takes advantage of such programs worries about their family in an entirely new environment. The popularity and success of the Greece Golden Visa Program have increased magnificently. This means that the foreign community in Greece is rapidly expanding.

The Greek Golden Visa Program enables people to invest at least 250,000€ in the country and receive permanent residency in return. This right comes with additional perks like visa-free travel throughout most of Europe. Additionally, it grants the holder the right to study and work in other countries throughout the European Union.

Furthermore, under the needs of this program, Greece provides newcomers with many orientation and settling-in services. Greece has many international institutions that provide education in several languages. Therefore, children who do not know Greek do not have to go through the Greek curriculum of government schools. They can choose to continue their education in schools that teach in English or other languages.

Education in the Greek Language Is Not Mandatory

As investors often emphasize, the future of their children is usually their primary concern when applying for the Golden Visa.

Consequently, families who move into a new country often worry about the quality of education their children will receive. More importantly, whether the new country has a different native language than their own.

However, in Greece’s case, new families do not have any shortage of international schools. These offer high-quality education in several different languages. Most of them are located in the capital, Athens. So, the students of expat families do not need to learn Greek for school.

The Greek Education System

Greece has millennia of experience in education. Ancient Greek civilization is one of the first places where a proper educational system had been implemented. Most of the best-known ancient philosophers are from that era of the efflorescent term of education.

Building upon that tradition, Greece continues to provide its citizens and residents with a high-quality education. Including both public and private, Greece has a wide variety of top-notch schools. However, private institutions are the ones that teach in other languages. Therefore, they would be a better fit for international students.

The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs administers the Greek education system in Greece. Public and private Greek schools and international schools are all available in the educational system. However, it is essential to note that public schools in Greece teach only in the Greek language. On the other hand, they are free, and they cover tuition and textbooks.

Pre-School Education

Pre-school education is called Vrefonipiakoi Paidikoi Stathmi (crèches) in the education system. It’s important to note here that they are not part of compulsory education. Children can start preschool education after two and a half years of age.

After four years of age, your child can attend kindergarten (Nipiagogeia). The Ministry of Education in Greece encourages families to send their children to kindergarten, which is free. However, they don’t cover the cost of stationery equipment.

Compulsory Education

Education in Greece is compulsory and free for children from the age of 6 until 15. Compulsory education falls under three levels:

Primary School (Dimotiko): Primary school is for children between 6 and 11 years of age
Secondary School (Gymnasio): Secondary school is for children between 12 and 14 years of age
Senior High School (Iykeion): Senior High School is for children between 15 and 17 years of age

Higher Education in Greece

The state governs higher education as a whole in Greece. You can find both public and private universities in the country. As is the case with other countries, the fees of private universities are higher than those of public universities.
Higher education falls under the following groups:

  • Non-university level: Generally, programs of technical/vocational training last three years
  • University level first stage: They are undergraduate degrees and generally last four years
  • University level second stage: The first level of postgraduate studies last for a minimum of four semesters
  • University level third stage: Doctoral degree which depends on the field of study

Moreover, If you plan to attend a private institution, you have to show proof of proficiency in the language of the school. Mostly, the language is English, and an IELTS or TOEFL certificate will be enough.

A student from an EU country does not pay tuition fees for a Bachelor’s degree. However, for a master’s degree, they may have to pay some fees. On the other hand, a non-EU country student pays around €1500 as a tuition fee per year.
Finally, the cost of private universities is between €1000 and €1600.

International Schools in Greece

You can find several international schools in Greece, mostly situated in Athens. International Institutions are desirable for expats. They offer various languages of education and foreign/international curricula.

Moreover, they follow the curriculum models of the UK, the US, and France. The most popular international schools in Greece are the British and American schools. Many international schools provide education in kindergarten, primary school, secondary school, and high school.

The quality of education in these schools is very high because of their curricula. Additionally, teachers in these schools have EU Teacher Qualifications.

Finally, students who graduate from one of Greece’s international schools have a competitively high chance of getting accepted into elite universities. Especially those of Europe and the United States of America.
Here are some options for graduates among international students. They can attend a university in the UK or the EU:

  • as an EU citizen (if you are also a Greek citizen), or
  • a long-term citizen, or
  • an international student if they have a Golden Visa
    Furthermore, a few universities abroad reduce tuition fees if you have a Golden Visa.

Finally, these international schools provide primary education and secondary education. They also have upscale facilities and educational resources.

Since Greece is a member state of the European Union, it has access to effective European education methods and vast resources. As the country is recovering from a long period of crisis, the number of Greek students in international schools is not so high. Still, there is a considerable amount of Greek students for new residents to socialize with. So, this creates a diverse culture in these schools.

Keep in mind that these schools also provide internationally recognized accreditation such as the “International Baccalaureate (IB)”. These are generally highly competitive education programs.

Living in Greece:
The Ultimate Guide for Expats Read More >

Tuition Fees of International Schools in Greece

International schools in Greece are private and are subject to tuition fees. The fees range from €7.000 to €13.000 for each school year. These fees may vary depending on the school chosen, and its policy. It can also differ depending on the student’s age or grades.

Moreover, considering the quality of education students receive in these institutions, these prices are very acceptable. They are mostly cheaper than education in China, the US, or the UK.

Diverse and All-around Programs of International Schools in Greece

As mentioned earlier, international schools in Greece maintain a very high standard in the quality of their education. This is partly due to their diverse and comprehensive programs. These programs provide the children with all the knowledge and practice they need in a broad spectrum of areas. In return, they enhance the quality of education and the overall success of the alumni of these institutions.

List of International Schools in Greece

English Speaking International Institutions:

  • American College, also known as Pierce College (US)
  • Campion School (UK)
  • St. Catherine’s British School (UK)
  • American Community Schools, ACS (US)
  • Byron College: The British International School (UK)
  • International School of Athens, ISA
  • Costeas-Geitonas School CGS
  • Doukas School
  • I.M Panagiotopoulos School
  • St. Lawrence College (UK)
  • International School of Piraeus (UK)
  • Anatolia College (US)
  • Pinewood American College of Thessaloniki (US)

French Speaking International Institutions:

  • Lycée Franco-Hellénique Eugène Delacroix
  • French School of Thessaloniki – Ecole française de Thessalonique

German Speaking International Institutions:

  • Deutsche Schule Athen
  • German School of Thessaloniki – Deutsche Schule Thessaloniki

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