In the fiercely competitive era of the 4th Industrial Revolution, rapid technological developments devalue existing skills and create a need for new ones. In Greece, these challenges are superimposed on the problems created by the decade-long economic crisis, which led to unprecedented levels of unemployment. As a result, an effective, modern system of VET is crucial for achieving upskilling and reskilling in the Greek labour market.
In Greece, VET is not considered as a popular education choice nor a solid career pathway. And despite the fact, that Greece has taken measures to strengthen the governance of VET and set up a skill forecasting system to guide the development of VET provision, there is still a long way to go for a better VET and LLL system.
And most importantly, in fact this is the main challenge, there is a long way to go regarding the average perception of VET. VET in the country is still faced with a lack of attractiveness and the challenges of increasing participation, involving social partners, increasing the labour market relevance of programmes, developing quality assurance and setting up information systems to guide the development of provision. Taking stock of the changes already made, analysing what has worked and what needs to be improved, Greece is now ahead of a big change in the VET and LLL system.
Greek Government has set a strategic objective to upgrade VET from the level of a forced solution for few, to a conscious education and career choice for many. Therefore, the Ministry of Education introduced a new legal framework regulating the VET and LLL system in Greece in a more systematic, comprehensive and cohesive way, which was adopted by Parliament two weeks ago.
The European experience has shown that this strategic choice would be directly linked to the country’s economic recovery. Throughout Europe, coordinated interventions in VET and LLL systems are linked to a significant increase of productivity and economic growth and, at the same time, to a reduction of the unemployment rate, especially of young people.
The main pillars of this new framework are the following:
- The Joint Strategic Planning of Vocational Education and Vocational Training in order to avoid overlapping and to achieve optimum results regarding the coverage of the Greek Economy’s needs.
- The upgrade of Vocational Education Schools (EPAL) and Vocational Training Institutes (ΙΕΚ) in terms of curricula, technical equipment, teachers’ training.
- The creation for the first time of model Vocational Education Schools and pilot Vocational Training Institutes.
- The active participation of social partners in the design and implementation of the system.
- The introduction of a labor market diagnosis system and a tracking system of the VET graduates.
- The certification and validation of Non-formal and Informal learning.
- The introduction of early career counselling and vocational guidance, as well as opportunities for internships in collaboration with local businesses.