Greece – National Data

Education Data 2017 – 2018

Early Childhood Intervention

0 to 6 (or 7) years of age. Such services are provided by a) planned public services, b) private institutions; c) non-profit organisations; d) non-governmental organisations; and e) associations of parents of children with disabilities, the latter being financed through private donations and sponsorships. All these organisations have their own operating rules, cater for different age ranges (usually 0-4, 2-6 or 0-6).

Special Education and Training (EAE) kindergartens, early intervention departments of EAE kindergartens, and mainstream kindergartens receive children up to seven years of age. ‘Inclusion support teachers’ help with the integration of children with mild disabilities (but only Autism Spectrum Disorders) into the mainstream kindergarten environment

Education Support

Special Education and Training, like mainstream education, is obligatory and forms an integral part of public and free education. Students with disabilities and special educational needs aged 4 to 22 receive free education, independent of what educational setting they are attending, i.e. whether mainstream, integrated or special schools.

All students with disabilities and special educational needs are assessed at Centres for Educational Support (KESY), according to the new Law 4547/2018.[1], which are decentralised public services, directly managed by the Ministry of Education, Research, and Religious Affairs. The KESY specialists decides the most suitable schooling environment. Depending on the KESY’s assessment, students can attend: a) regular classes in a mainstream school, with more or less support provided by special education teachers and counsellors; b) Integration Departments operating in general and vocational education schools; c) School Units for Special Education and Training – SMEAE: these are units in some  public schools, providing primary and secondary education to students with more severe disabilities and educational needs; d) school units or departments that function in hospitals, rehabilitation centres, juvenile-care institutions, institutions for the chronically-ill, or Mental Health Education and Rehabilitation Services; and e) home-schooling, with the help of a special primary and secondary education teacher and counselling by a ‘support group’, for students with serious short or long-term health problems, who cannot move and attend school (this is a public service, not outsourced to private entities).[2]


Table 1: Special education school units:

pre-primary, primary, and secondary level (2018)


Special education school units No
Special needs kindergartens 135
Day special needs kindergartens 17
Special needs primary schools 149
Day special needs primary schools 62
Special needs lower secondary schools 6
Special needs lower secondary schools with upper secondary school classes 3
Special vocational lower and upper secondary schools* 19
Special needs vocational education and training workshops (EEEEK) 90
Special needs technical vocational schools (TEE) 24
Total 505


Employment Support

Equality Law 3304/2005[3] stipulates non-discrimination on account of disability (Ch. 3) but only in the area of employment (and not in the sectors of social protection and social security provisions). Policy measures aimed at promoting the employment of disabled people in Greece concentrate mostly on providing placements through disability-specific schemes, and do not generally address the wider impediments to entering the labour market, such as protection of workers’ rights and accessibility of workplaces (Strati, 2018a). Existing employment schemes for people with disabilities include programmes and placements provided by the Hellenic Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED), centres for vocational training and Social Cooperatives for the Social Inclusion of Vulnerable Groups.

The OAED is the public authority focussing on national policy programmes regarding promotion to employment, unemployment insurance and social protection of maternity and family, and vocational education and training. There are 121 local public employment services across the country, as well as six Employment Offices for Special Social Groups, which aim at the integration into the labour market of population groups at risk of social exclusion, including people with disabilities. These latter offices offer psychosocial support, career orientation advice, and referral to mainstream employment and vocational training programmes, and provide various training vouchers, wage subsidy programmes, public work schemes, or social enterprising (Strati, 2018a)[4]. In order to increase the employment of people with disabilities, OAED has also introduced a series of programmes aimed at employers, such as subsidising businesses that create a new place of employment for a person with at least 50% disability, and funding for necessary adjustments in the workplace (for example, ramps, accessible toilets, etc.) (OAED, 2017).[5]

In addition, there are more than 50 public Centres of Vocational Training, and more than 20 public Specialised Centres of Vocational Training for people with disabilities across various municipalities in Greece, co-funded by the Ministry of Employment and Social Solidarity, and the EU. The centres aim to promote employment, through vocational training, and provide social support and counselling to encourage the entrance or re-entrance of long-term unemployed and vulnerable groups – including people with disabilities – to the labour market (European Blind Union).

Another employment scheme for people with disabilities across Greece is the Social Cooperatives for the Social Inclusion of Vulnerable Groups. These cooperatives run with national and EU funds, donations, as well as income from sales, while members retain limited legal responsibility. Their aim is the integration of people belonging to vulnerable social groups into the economic and social life; for this purpose, they recruit at least 30% of its staff with people belonging to a specific vulnerable group. In the case of people with disabilities, members and employees are people with any form of physical, mental, intellectual or sensory disability (as attested by KESY). For example, Social Cooperatives dealing with mental health can be active in any industrial sector and are eligible for national and EU funds; disabled people working there enjoy the same protection levels as in any other form of employment.

Day Care

Day care centres for people with disabilities aim to provide beneficiaries a framework for acquiring new skills, which will offer them a better quality of life, a higher level of autonomy, as well as social integration. The providers of day care centres for people with disabilities in Greece are primarily public institutions (public day care centres, public hospitals, or university hospitals) and private institutions (either for- or non-profit).

Table 2 presents the types of day care centres for people with disabilities available in Greece (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights – FRA, 2015).[6]  

Table 2: Types of day care centres for people with disabilities


Type of day care centre


Users Services Typical provider Typical funder
Day care centres for people with physical disability (KDIF) Adults with physical disabilities Day care (max 16-hours daily)

Services: professional training, information and entertainment, implementation of EU-funded programmes


(Public, private,

non-profit institutions)

EU funding /

National Government

Day care centres for people with sensory disability (KDIF) Adults with sensory disabilities
Day care centres for people with intellectual disability (KDIF) Adults with intellectual disabilities
Mixed day care centres Adults with multiple disabilities or different types of disability Daytime support: health and hospitalisation services, training, recreational activities Mixed

(Public, private,

non-profit institutions)

EU funding / National Government
Day centres I. Children, adolescents, and older people with mental, and intellectual disability

II.  People at risk of social exclusion

III. Families of beneficiaries

Interventions at individual, group and collective level including needs assessment, skills training, therapeutic interventions, vocational training, recreational activities, family support, awareness Mixed

(Public and non-profit institutions)

EU funding / National government
Mobile mental health units Children, adolescents, and adults with mental disorders and serious psychosocial problems, behavioural and autistic disorders Prevention and assessment of disorders, psychosocial rehabilitation, community education Mixed (Hospitals, university hospitals, private

non-profit organisations)

National government
Mental health centres


Children, adults, and older people with mental health problems Psychosocial rehabilitation, prevention and treatment of mental disorders, community awareness Mixed (Hospitals, university hospitals, privatenon-profit organisations) National government

Note: Day care centres for people with disabilities are provided across the country, with the exception of ‘mobile mental health units’ that provide services for mental health sectors where individuals have difficulty in accessing mental health services or where no sufficient mental health services exist.

Depending on type of day care centre and target group, services may include transportation of beneficiaries to and from the centre, accommodation and nutrition, personalised programmes (occupational therapy, speech therapy, etc.), psychological support to beneficiaries and their families, creative and recreational activities, as well as other services (e.g. self-help education, exhibition of beneficiaries’ work, etc.). Some day care centres – particularly the ones targeting young adults – provide vocational workshops, which aim at improving beneficiaries’ skills in order to aid their social and professional integration.

Concerning tertiary education, the new law for Higher Education (Law 4485/2017) stipulates that a Centre for Lifelong Learning is to be established in every Higher Education institution; (Art. 48, Par. 14) (Strati, 2018b). (to our knowledge, these have not been created to date).

Some details about the Greek labour system and people with disabilities:

The Law states that an employer is obliged to employ people with a disability at a rate of 2% of total employees (this increased in 2018 from 1%). This is often not adhered to.

The health system does not have a procedure for receiving the disability allowance as well as receiving income from working.  People who receive a disability allowance will lose it if they enter paid work. Often families do not allow their ‘children’ to begin working or even try to gain some work experience.

The last Eurostat data collection was in 2011, but these are not realistic figures because since then and due to the economic crisis in Greece, the situation has changed greatly. Eurostat will include in the future data collected based on the GALI Index with Research on Manpower in Greece.

The Greek Statistics Authority, in collaboration with Eurostat, carry out an annual Survey on Income and Living Conditions. The last available data concerns the year 2016. This last sample was taken from 18.255 households and 44.094 members of these households.  37.850 of these people were 16 years of age and over.

The figures for Greece (according to the GALI Index):

This amounts to 1.014.177 people with severe activity restrictions / disability (11,2% of the population), and 1.217.020 people with moderate activity restrictions / disability (13,5%), including all types of chronic health conditions.

The unemployment index is very high for people with severe disabilities amounting to 39%. In the category of moderate restrictions / disability it is 29,3%, while in the population without disability it is estimated at 24,6%.


STUDENTS/ TRAINEES 2.788 (1,3%) 5.295 (2,6%) 276.469 (21,4%) 284.552 (16,6%)
PENSIONERS 72.479 (33,4%) 104.423 (50,3%) 412.151 (31,9%) 589.053 (34,3%)
UNSUITABLE FOR WORK / PERMANENT DISABIILTY 85.862 (39,6%) 14.498 (7,0%) 6.934 (0,5%) 107.294 (6,2%)
ARMED FORCES 0 (0,0%) 535 (0,3%) 13.995 (1,1%) 14.530 (0,8%)
HOUSEHOLD DUTIES 52.067 (24,0%) 76.888 (37,0%) 555.136 (42,9%) 684.091 (39,8%)
 REMAINDER NON ACTIVE 3.788 (1,7%) 6.005 (2,9%) 28.721 (2,2%) 38.514 (2,2%)
TOTAL 216.984 (100,0%) 207.644 (100,0%) 1.293.406 (100,0%) 1.718.034 (100,0%)


(Source: ELSTAT, 2016)

Reasonable workplace adjustments

Have the necessary adjustments been made at your workplace?
(ramps, lifts, equipment, software, adjustments to working hours etc.)



TOTAL 1.014.177 (100,0%) 1.217.019 (100,0%) 6.785.052 (100,0%) 9.016.248 (100,0%)



People with disabilities work mostly in the primary sector.  20% of employees have severe disability and 17% with moderate disability, compared to 11,6% of employees without restrictions/disability.

People with disability working in the Tertiary sector are 65,2% compared to 73,5% of people without disabilities. This differs from other European countries where people with disabilities are often employed in service provision.

People with disabilities are more highly represented in agricultural, farming and fishing professions. 31,6% have severe disability and 27,3% with moderate disability, compared to 10,9 of employees without restrictions/disability.



European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education (2018). Country policy review and analysis: Greece. Odense, Denmark.

European Association of Services for People with Disabilities, Greece: Fact Sheet on Social Care & Support Services Sector for Persons with Disabilities

European Commission, Eurydice (2018a). Greece: Organisation of vocational upper secondary education. Available at: (Accessed on October 24th, 2018).

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights – FRA (2015). Mapping Paper: Summary overview of types and characteristics of institutions and community-based services for persons with disabilities available across the EU: Greece. Vienna: FRA.

Ministry of Education, Research, and Religious Affairs (2015). All special education schools of primary and secondary education. Available at: (Accessed on October 24th, 2018).



National Confederation of Disabled People (NCDP) and Disability Observatory (2019). 5th REPORT: DETAILS ON THE EDUCATION OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITES AND SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS.

Noesi (2013). Special Education Directorate. Available at: (Accessed on October 17th, 2018).

Strati, E. (2017). Country report on social protection and Article 28 UNCRPD – Greece. Available at: (Accessed on October 18th, 2018).

Strati, E. (2018a). Country report on the European Pillar of Social Rights (focus topics) – Greece. Academic Network of European Disability Experts (ANED). Available at: (Accessed on October 17th, 2018).


[1] Law 4547/2018 ‘Support structures for primary and secondary education’. Available at:

[2] For more information on these types of schools, please check Law 3699/2008 ‘Special Education and Training of people with disabilities or special educational needs’. Available at:

[3]   Law 3304/2005 Equal treatment irrespective of racial or nationality origin, religion, disability, age or sexual orientation, Available at:

[4]  OAED has also two centres for the vocational training of people with disabilities, one in Athens and the other one in Thessaloniki. For more information, see

[5]  Other measures include the 10% mandatory employment quota scheme in the public sector for the employment of disabled people with 50% impairment level, and a 5% quota for parents, spouses or siblings of people with at least a 67% disability in all vacancies of the independent recruiting council for the public sector-ASEP. The same process applies to all EU / national-funded schemes of employment (Strati, 2018a). For the private sector, companies with more than 50 employees have to cover 8% of their staff with employees with disabilities and other socially-sensitive groups

[6] The website ‘Noesi’ ( offers a list with day care centres (particularly KDIF, see Table 2) available in the country. Noesi also provides up-to-date services for students with special educational needs and people with disabilities in Greece and Cyprus regarding education, health, and welfare. As of October 2018, there were 1,176 public, private, and non-governmental organisations and centres registered on the website that offer services for disabled people, with the majority of such services (34.2%) concentrated in the Attica region (administrative region encompassing the metropolitan area of Athens)