The recent (December 2015) completion of the referencing of the Hellenic Qualifications Framework (HQF) to the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) is a significant first step towards the development of a framework for validation of non-formal and informal learning in Greece. The law on Restructuring of Secondary Education (Law 4186/2013) identifies entities/institutions offering non-formal learning that can lead to recognized certifications on a national level. According to the law, non-formal learning institutions (public or private) are:
- Vocational Training Schools (SxoliEpaggelmatikhsKatartishs – SEK) that offer initial vocational training to graduates of compulsory education – these institutions will however be abolished on 31 August 2019;
- Institutes of Vocational Training (InstitoutoEpaggelmatikhsKatartishs- IEK), offering initial vocational training to graduates of formal, non-compulsory secondary education (general or technical lyceums) and of SEK;
- Lifelong Learning Centers, offering continuous vocational training, general adult education, vocational guidance and lifelong counselling; and
- Colleges (Kollegia), which offer non-formal learning to graduates of non-compulsory secondary education. These institutions can be public or private.
Private providers have to meet specific criteria to receive licensing. EOPPEP is the National Organization for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance, an all-encompassing statutory body investing on better quality and more efficient & reliable lifelong learning services in Greece. EOPPEP operates under the supervision of the Minister of Education & Religious Affairs, Culture & Sports and is seated in Athens.
VPL in Higher Education
The Greek Constitution states that universities are public and charge no fees. At present, the Greek State has no system in place to recognize degrees wholly or partially obtained from private universities in Greece (though it does recognize degrees from private universities abroad via DOATAP [formerly DIKATSA]). Consequently, nearly all private universities in Greece cooperate with foreign bodies for accreditation or validation, typically in the UK and USA. All private universities in Greece cooperate with foreign bodies for accreditation or validation, typically in the UK and USA.
The Greek law permits public bodies to set up institutions of higher education (at university level). The Greek validated institution may act as a branch or franchise, or it may be independent and offer degrees validated by several foreign universities. Some of these Greek institutions are independent businesses; some are legal branches of a foreign university or college. A few institutions listed here under “validated” are (partially) accredited in the USA but operate under a for-profit basis (AUA, NYC). Most non-profit institution in Greece are accredited, none offers validated degrees (this may change).
Validation in the Labour Market
Validation in labour market in Greece is limited compared to other European countries. In Greece there still seems to be a poor disappointing connection between education and labour market, due to disagreements between the involved stakeholders of the fields of education, job training and the labour market, with regards to professional rights. A commonly agreed framework of key qualifications has to be created and certified.
Validation in the Third Sector
In this section, a self-standing validation system of summative assessment used by a major non-profit Greek organization, the Hellenic Business Administration Corporation (E.E.D.E.) can be presented as a good practice example. This certification is not part of any formal validation system, but the certificates in question meet the recognition by employers. Hence, the validation system offers social recognition of the training received. This is because EEDE is widely known for offering quality non-formal training. As outlined above, to date, an overall framework for validation has not been developed in Greece but the foundations for creating this have been set.
Funding of VPL
The Greek government covers costs for VPL.