Since 2016, Greece has taken several measures to give increasing numbers of refugee and migrant children access to education. The strategy has evolved in response to previous evaluations and monitoring, support and planning mechanisms have been strengthened to ensure the strategy continues to adapt. In 2018, Greece established a Department for the Co-ordination and Monitoring of Refugee Education, charged with the planning, management and monitoring of the strategy. Regional Refugee Education Co-ordinators mediate between the Ministry, the accommodation centres, and local schools. Based on their reports, Greece’s Institute of Education Policy monitors reception, enrolment and educational needs. This helps to ensure the strategy adapts to the changing demographic of refugee students, as more children leave accommodation centres.

In 2019, Greece introduced a mandatory requirement for asylum-seeking children to be enrolled in the school system and their inclusion in formal education, regardless of where they reside. By 2020/21, around 14 400 refugee children were enrolled in Greek public schools; Human Rights Watch estimate that, in 2019, around half of those were on the mainland, but a smaller share of those resided on islands. During school closures in 2020, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) worked with the Ministry to provide educational materials and essential items to enable refugee students to continue learning. Some learning was delivered online, with offline resources being delivered to refugee children at the entrance of accommodation centres (ReliefWeb, 2020[6]).

Further reading: OECD (2020[7]), Education Policy Outlook: Greece, (accessed on 28 October 2021).

In September 2020, 218 schools and kindergartens across Greece began piloting new approaches to teaching soft skills, with a view to developing a new skills curriculum. Following this, from September 2021, the 21st Century Skills Labs module is being taught in all kindergartens, primary and lower-secondary schools in Greece as part of the compulsory curriculum.

Skills Labs modules aim to develop students’ soft skills, life skills, and digital skills using innovative methods, with an emphasis on experiential learning. Teachers and school leaders work collaboratively to design a skills programme based on four thematic cycles: well-being; environment; social empathy and accountability; and creative thinking and innovation. An online platform brings together differentiated teaching resources and suggested activities, assessment material, and information for parents. This is supported by online professional development activities. The programme seeks to develop social and emotional skills – such as empathy, adaptability, and planning – that support the resilience of learners. Science and technology skills, such as digital literacy and modelling and simulation, aim to support successful online learning and students’ transitions to the labour market. Descriptive assessments aim to evaluate the effectiveness of the programme at the same time as assessing students’ skills development. In May 2021, the Skills Labs received a Global Education Award from the Global Education Network Europe (Global Education Network Europe, 2021[8]).

Further reading: Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs (2020[53]), Implementation of pilot “Skills Workshops” in Primary and Secondary Education, (accessed on 1 April 2021).


Global Education Network Europe (2021), GENE Global Education Awardees 2020/2021, (accessed on 12 October 2021). [8]

OECD (2020), Education Policy Outlook: Greece, (accessed on 28 October 2021). [7]

OECD (2020), Learning remotely when schools close: How well are students and schools prepared? Insights from PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, [2]

OECD (2020), TALIS 2018 Results (Volume II): Teachers and School Leaders as Valued Professionals, TALIS, OECD Publishing, Paris, [1]

OECD (2019), PISA 2018 Results (Volume II): Where All Students Can Succeed, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, [4]

OECD (2019), PISA 2018 Results (Volume III): What School Life Means for Students’ Lives, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, [5]

OECD (2019), TALIS 2018 Results (Volume I): Teachers and School Leaders as Lifelong Learners, TALIS, OECD Publishing, Paris, [3]

ReliefWeb (2020), Refugee students happy to be back at school on Greek islands, (accessed on 1 April 2021). [6]

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