GREECE has managed to face the COVID 19 pandemic rather efficiently. The country’s authorities have not only taken all the necessary measures to contain the spread of the virus, but they have also excelled in superb communication management since day one building the social trust necessary for the citizens to embrace the measures imposed.
On 10 March, with 89 confirmed cases and no deaths in the country, the government decided to suspend the operation of educational institutions of all levels nationwide.
The Greek Education Ministry announced that it was responding to the challenge of school closures due to the coronavirus by launching digital tools that will enable distance learning.
Priority was given to the implementation of distance learning in the last year of secondary school, however all educational units, in all educational level, primary, secondary, tertiary and secondary (EPAL) and post-secondary VET (IEK). As far as the IEK students are concerned, 95% of the courses were offered in distance learning mode.
Teachers’ and trainers training
Within a two month period, during the lockdown, teachers and trainers have been technically supported by the central technical team based in the Ministry of Education and pedagogically through short-term training sessions in digital skills.
All schools of all levels nationwide have been swiftly provided with tablets and laptops by the Greek Education Ministry with the major contribution of European funds. There is also a great effort offered by private donations
This technologic equipment will become school property and will be provided to pupils and teachers so as to facilitate the implementation of distance learning, and also to contribute in the long term in enhancing digital skills. Priority is given to supporting low income families, unemployed parents, single families, families with three children, families with many children or orphaned families, pupils with special needs or pupils with excellent achievements. The specific number of tablets and laptops per school unit is based on the total of donations, the number of pupils and the school unit’s existing technological equipment.
This unforeseen situation continues to mobilize both state and private sector in cooperating for the invigoration of the critical field of education and equipping Greek youth with the necessary digital skills for the 21st century.
Based on the most recent data, cover reaches 99,9% of households. Furthermore, 4G mobile networks coverage reaches 97% of households. The vast majority of families with children have, at least, one smart phone and computer. On top of that, they also have unlimited data connection to the internet. The Greek government also gave access to digital classrooms via landline telephones (with minimal charge). Discussions with internet providers took place for further supporting the effort of distance learning.
(Ι) SCHOOLS: Teachers’ and pupils’ response exceeds expectations.
Indicative data in 3 axes
- Modern distance learning- synchronous learning: More than 9.462.802 in total participations of pupils. More than 112.000 teachers have managed hundreds of thousands hours of live broadcasting of digital classes with over 1.096.311 pupils views, a number raising by 70% on average per day. The number of 40.957 simultaneous classes per day has been reached. Priority has been given to High School and particularly to pupils that are candidate for the nationwide university entry exams. Live classes via distance learning have commenced aiming first and foremost on this group. All necessary provisions have been taken so as these pupils were able to connect by livestreaming in classes via the internet or landline telephones, so as to achieve 100% inclusion. Thousands of classes took place with great participation of pupils and teachers.
- Asynchronous learning: Over 1.199.000 pupils and 193.062 teachers have registered at the Panhellenic School Network and are using the asynchronous distance learning platforms. Networks are constantly being upgraded in order to respond to the extremely high demand by both pupils and teachers. From the very beginning of this effort, all school levels nationwide have been included in the asynchronous distance learning. Further, the Education Ministry’s platforms (Panhellenic School Network, E- class, E-ME) and the digital educational material (Photodendro, Aisopus, E-Books) are constantly being upgraded.
- EDUCATIONAL TELEVISION: On Monday 30/3/2020, the broadcasts of the Educational Television for primary school pupils commenced, with very high ratings: on the first day, ratings reached 51,2% at the age group 4-14 y.o., meaning that more than 141.000 children have watched broadcasts. Based on collected data, educational television programmes have been watched, even for minimal time, by 588.313 viewers.
(ΙΙ) (DIEK) Public post-secondary VET schools: In less than a week, 114 out of 124 VET schools nationwide have responded to digital learning efforts by operating or setting up asynchronous teaching platforms and broadcasting simultaneous distance learning.
(ΙΙΙ) Universities/Tertiary Education Institutions. A high percentage of the classes per Tertiary Education Institution’s Departments is implemented, combining the already used asynchronous teaching with simultaneous distance learning. Based on official data that the Ministry of Education has gathered from Tertiary Education Institutions nationwide, Charokopeio Univesity offers 93% of its classes via distance learning, University of Crete offers 93% of its classes the same way, while Patras University offers 91% of all its classes via distance learning.
 Statistics of participations https://mathainoumestospiti.gov.gr/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/minedu-covid19-mathainoumestospiti-statistics-405.pdf