Education in Greece at the upper secondary level is dominated by the Panhellenic exams; they will decide to which university a student will go and what they will study. Little thought is given to upper secondary vocational education and training (VET) for 16 to 18 year-olds, even though it can offer better job prospects than general education.
According to an opinion survey on VET carried out by Cedefop, around 75% of people who studied VET found their first long-term job within a year, compared to 58% of those who studied general education.
Although of high quality – nine in 10 Greek upper secondary VET participants responding to the survey said they were totally satisfied with the quality of teaching they received – only around 29% of 16 to 18 year-olds in Greece participate in upper secondary VET, much lower than the EU average of 49%.
Low participation is explained, to some extent, by the survey finding that 87% of respondents in Greece think that general education has a more positive image than VET. Over eight in 10 respondents also consider that VET is for students with low grades and think that upper secondary VET qualifications are easier to obtain.
However, despite VET’s negative image compared to general education, over half (53%) of Greek respondents feel that upper secondary VET graduates are more likely to find a job after their studies than upper secondary general education graduates. This is unsurprising. Many upper secondary VET students expect to look for a job after finishing their studies, whereas general education also prepares students for higher education. Perhaps more surprising is that 69% believed that completing higher education did not improve their chances of finding a job compared to upper secondary VET graduates.
Importantly, upper secondary VET is not just seen as a route into any job. Six in 10 survey respondents in Greece think that it can lead to a highly regarded job.
There is an argument that upper secondary VET is underused as a route to a good job and undervalued compared to general education, but attitudes may be changing. The survey found that half of the respondents believe that Greece should prioritise investment in VET compared to one third for general education.
In a difficult labour market it is worth considering whether upper secondary VET provides a suitable path to a job for many 16 to 18 year-olds.
- More in Cedefop opinion survey on vocational education and training in Europe: Greece (in English only, featured below)
- Cedefop’s opinion survey, published in 2017, provides new insights in what Europeans think of vocational education and training (VET), its ability to give people the right skills and to help VET graduates to find a job. The survey aims to inform policies to make VET a more attractive and effective learning option. It was conducted in June 2016 and examined EU citizens’ awareness and opinions on VET’s attractiveness and effectiveness, and personal experiences of VET at upper secondary level (typically age 16-18). The survey comprised more than 35 000 interviews of a representative sample of Europeans across all EU Member States.
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