The Greek educational system always was, and still is, centralised to a large extent, since the Ministry of Education continues to hold the basic powers with respect to educational policy and management. Public school units are completely dependent on decisions reached at a central level, at the Ministry, while private school units, too, only possess a very limited degree of […]
The Greek educational system always was, and still is, centralised to a large extent, since the Ministry of Education continues to hold the basic powers with respect to educational policy and management. Public school units are completely dependent on decisions reached at a central level, at the Ministry, while private school units, too, only possess a very limited degree of autonomy. The discussion regarding the school system’s decentralisation begun in our country before the financial crisis. In fact, international organisations, such as the OECD, had drafted very specific proposals to that direction as early as 2011. These proposals, concerning the quality of the education provided in school units, efficiency and social accountability of state funded school units, sought to create a new environment for our school system. Resolutions and pieces of legislation in recent years, until 2015, were in the direction of decentralisation, contained elements of transparency and accountability, while the autonomy of school units was declared to be an official goal of the State. One can point out to changes on primary and secondary education that were brought about within the framework of the “New School” policy (through Law 3848/2010). These changes included the upgrade and expansion of all-day schools, the development of new, flexible educational curricula, the decentralisation of teacher’s education, and the introduction of schools’ self-evaluation. These were changes aimed at improving educational work in ways that are compatible with the OECD’s report and consistent with prevailing practices internationally. Moreover, school unit autonomy was undertaken as a commitment of the Greek state within the confines of the 2015 Memorandum with the creditors (see art. 3, par. c, section 4.1 of Law 4336/2017). However, although the need for decentralisation is frequently mentioned and some institutional efforts have taken place (most important of which was the aforementioned Law 3848/2010), centralisation and uniformity remain the basic features of the primary and secondary educational system. Furthermore, the trend to decentralise was reversed with more recent legislation which restricted whatever autonomy private, experimental and magnet schools had and returned some of the competencies back to the Ministry of Education. At the same time, the role of the Ministry’s decentralised units (regional directorates) did not change – their main function remains to apply, at a local level, policies that are decided at the central level.