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Greece (Aristea Mavromati)

1. Inclusion in general education

From the middle 80s the educational legislation establishes equal rights for all children of school age. Parents have the right to enroll their child in any school of their choice.

Historically, inclusive education in Greece has faced several stages of development. The first recorded cases of inclusive education in Greece date back from 1981, when students with borderline and mild mental retardation were included at the elementary and secondary level for some school subjects. Those cases were exceptional and were the outcome of personal initiatives of pioneer educators. From 1984 till the end of the ‘80s the establishment of many special classes-resource rooms seemed to be the major state policy. However, these special classes function without specialist personnel, without specially selected material and often without special organizational arrangements. The role of the resource room in reality proved to be a continuous supportive feature in the educational process and not merely as a means of receiving remedial help to overcoming specific learning problems. From the beginning of the 90s integration efforts have flourished and have also gained the support of the state, within the framework of the European programme HELIOS 1. During this period the term ‘inclusive education' has taken various formats and modes of expression. A little bit later there was a trend towards applying more comprehensive forms of integration, especially full time integration.

Present P.L. 2817/2000 about special education
Today, special education in Greece is mainly defined by public law 2817/2000, which has been a landmark for special education and inclusion in Greece. Through this law, centres of diagnosis, evaluation and support for all students who have special educational needs are established in each prefecture. In this way the ministry of education becomes the only service responsible for the initial diagnosis and continuous support of the pupils that have special educational needs. Moreover, new branches of special educational personnel are established and the need for specialized educators in special education is supported. Grades are set according to age and special education services are lengthened until the age of twenty two. A new department of special education is established in the Pedagogical Institute and a unique opportunity is given to design innovative types of schools as well as independent multi-dynamic centres of special education. Secondary schools and lyceums of special education are officially established. Three places for educational consultants, specialized in deaf or hard of hearing children and in blind people, are recommended. Teaching of the silent language in the deaf-mute children is officially established.

In addition to, several steps have been followed the last years in an attempt to promote inclusion:

  • Increase in the number of inclusion classes inside normal schools
  • Development of Special Professional Education. The onset of technical professional schools and Laboratories of Special Professional Education for adolescents with special needs who have graduated from primary special schools.
  • Analytical school programs with a social direction (i.e. visits in hospitals, shops, traffic education etc.)
  • Training of all educators on issues that concern special education and pupils with special needs.
  • Training of educators, who belong in secondary education, in some categories of pupils with special needs.
  • Adaptations to old and new school buildings in order to improve accessibility to people with special needs.
  • Development of variable programs in order to fight discrimination against people with special needs and promotion of equal opportunities in life.
  • Parents and educators related to people with special needs seem to organize themselves in groups and form organizations, in which they actively participate.

Ministry decision 102357/G6 (2002) about inclusion of pupils with SEN in school classes
This legislation (2002) gives information about how inclusion in schools should be carried out: it gives some guidelines about which school children with special educational needs should attend, under what conditions and prerequisites and in which cases these children can attend the particular type of class. In secondary education, inclusion classes are an innovation in Greece.

  • A child having a disability can:
  • Be integrated in the normal school classroom. In this case a pupil can be supported by an educator, on an occasional or permanent base. This kind of attendance is always followed by teaching adaptations according to the Individualized Educational Program by the cooperation of the teachers, the Centres of Diagnosis, Evaluation and Support and the school consultants. In addition, the number of students with special educational needs in a normal classroom cannot exceed 3. There is also the condition that the number of ‘normal' students can diminish every time there is an increase in the number of students with SEN and this is decided by the Centres of Diagnosis, Evaluation and Support (F.E.K. 1503/t.ß./08-11-2001). This kind of educational structure can be attended by children who face light difficulties in school attendance.
  • Attend inclusion classes together with normal school classroom. In this case the pupil attends normal classrooms teaching programs but in modules where he/she faces difficulties, he/she attends the inclusion classes. In inclusion classes the number of hours that a pupil can attend should not exceed 10 per week, unless in exceptional cases. Children and adolescents who can attend the inclusion classes are ones who have special educational needs and need systematic support from a special educator for a few hours a day or a week. These are students with serious educational needs and if their number is more than three an inclusion class is created. In these inclusion classes the Individualized Educational Program is adapted to the needs of each student.
  • Attend independent special schools. In this case the child has very serious special educational needs or is greatly benefited by such kind of educational structure. The needs of the child are systematic and programmed support from a special educator and other personnel, such as social workers, psychologists, physiotherapists etc is needed. Programs of socialization are attended and regular evaluation is conducted, having as its aim inclusion of the pupil in structures of mainstream education. Attendance in independent special schools can be in kindergarten (4-7 years old) and primary schools (7-14 years old), secondary schools (14-18 years old), in special lyceums (18-22 years old), in technical professional schools of special education of first grade (14-19 years old) and second grade (19-22 years old) and in laboratories of special professional education (14-22 years old). There are several types of school that relate to the type of disability but one doesn't find all of them in all prefectures.

P.L. 3194/2003
Public Law 3194 of 2003 discusses specific issues that concern special education. It focuses mostly on the criteria for licensure or certification to teach or work in fields of special education. A rank of criteria for employment in special educational structures is introduced.

2. Inclusion in physical education

Physical education starts at primary level education, where the children receive 2 hours of physical education per week in all classes and 1 hour per week of Olympic Education (in the last two classes of primary school education). In high school children receive 3 hours per week of physical education for the first two classes and 2 hours for the third one, plus 1 hour every 15 days of Olympic Education. In Lyceum adolescents receive 2 hours of physical education per week and 1 hour of Olympic Education only for the first year of this level of education. In special schools physical education schedule is similar to normal schools. Local educational authorities often offer few extra hours in physical education in special primary schools through funds of the General Secretariat of Sports.

There are no specific regulations in integrated and inclusive settings especially for PE. If students in integrated settings are not able to follow some classes due to their handicap, they can be relieved from these classes.

Finally, Public Law 3194 officially defines that physical educators who have specialised in APA in their bachelor final year precede the ones who don't have this specialization.

Inter-scientific teams in the Centres of Diagnosis, Evaluation and Support
Support to pupils from regular and special schools is organised by the Centres of Education, Evaluation and Support, which exist in each prefecture and are authorised by the Ministry of Education. In the past this support was offered by teams, which were not stable in one prefecture but they were moving from area to area all the time (except in the big city centres). The number of the needed personnel in the Centres of Diagnosis, Evaluation and Support is not everywhere the same and it depends on several parameters, mainly on the number of population they have to serve. The personnel in Centres of Diagnosis, Evaluation and Support is formed by educators of all levels of education, medical and paramedical professionals, psychologists, social workers and administrative personnel.

APA specialists and Centres of Diagnosis, Evaluation and support
APA specialists can get involved in the evaluation team only under the identity of a special educator of secondary education (up to now) and not as physical educators specialists, since there is no demand for such a specialty. This means, that he/she will be responsible mainly for the diagnosis of learning difficulties in all school effort (that is dyslexia, etc). Nevertheless, in the evaluation teams physiotherapists are included, although claimed to follow the educational model. Moreover, although there is a demand for specialists in the mobility, orientation and skills of everyday life of the blind people, there is no demand for adapted physical educators to do this job. This means that anyone who comes from variable background that has nothing to do with physical education and movement, if he has a postgraduate degree in special education in the category of people with vision problems or undefined training with at least three years of experience can be hired. As a result the profession of APA is intruded. It seems that there is an underestimation of the importance and the contribution APA can have in children and adolescence with special educational.

Inclusion in sports and physical activity

P.L. 2725/1999 defines the majority of the issues that concern sports for people with disabilities. Several modifications have been added to the above law (P.L. 2947/2001, P.L.3057/2002 & P.L. 3262/2004). The most important issues that concern sports for people with disabilities and equal confrontation from the state in terms of able-bodied are the following:

Sports for people with special needs come under the protection of the state. For achieving development in this field, athletic sports clubs and federations are established and officially recognized under specific regulations. Moreover, five sports federations are established for people with special needs, congruent to international standards set by the International Paralympic Committee (I.P.C.). Greek Paralympic Committee is established as a legal face of private law and Paralympic athletes are represented in this committee, similarly to the Greek Olympic Committee. Disabled athletes can be members of their sports club management team and represent it in official meetings but they cannot be members of the federation they belong to. Regulations that concern trainers, referees and judges are in accordance with the able-bodied ones, under of-course the specific needs in each case.

Today, Paralympic and Olympic athletes are equal in terms of state provision and recognition. State reinforcement towards athletes with special needs concerns specific professional opportunities (employment or education and training), funding (deaf athletes are also included) and praise to elite athletes who have been distinguished in Paralympic Games, similarly to able-bodied athletes.

In terms of recreational sports for people with special needs there are private businesses or local municipalities (the last ones funded by the General Secretariat of Sports - "sports for all" programs) that satisfy these needs. The author is not aware of state sports club for people with special needs that have as their exclusive aim recreational sports.

Employment of youngsters with a disability

Employment for people with special needs is covered by the P.L. 2643 Sheet Number 220/28-09-1998, "Care for the employment of persons in special categories and other issues".
According to this law, persons with a disability of at least 50%, who are enrolled in the files of the Employment Organization of Working Force can have some special treatment on issues that concern employment. Private or civil service businesses with personnel of more than 50 people are obliged to employee persons with special needs at a percentage of 2% (for private sector) or 3% (for civil service). Criteria that can influence the employment parameters are degree of disability, age, financial and family conditions and the onset of the employment contract. Moreover, common benefit organizations, banks and civil service businesses should also offer the 1/5 of places for specific professions (bailiffs, night guards, cleaners, doorkeepers, gardeners) to some special categories of people, one of which is people with special needs. Businesses that are involved are: civil service businesses or organizations, legal faces of private law, which belong to the state (at least 51%), or are regularly funded from state resources of at least 50%. If a person with a disability gets a job like this, automatically he/she becomes a permanent worker.

In addition to, the Employment Organization of Working Force has created a different department especially for the employment of people with special needs. Counseling and assistance are provided. Several funded programs are available for people with special needs. Funded programs of 16 and 24 or even 48 months contract, are carried out for sensitive social groups or new business professionals, where people with special needs, with a disability of at least 50% but not completely disabled for work, are included. The above organization is responsible for the 90% of the cost and up to 2.500E that is necessary for the adjustment of the worker and the necessary adaptations in his working environment.

Finally, a presidential decree (No 13, leaf number 11/ 20-01-2005) decides the establishment of accessibility units for the care of people with special needs. These units will be responsible for allowing access in all areas where people with disabilities live and move, including of course work, public areas and place of living.

Aristea Mavromati


"Inclusion (or Integration), attendance and graduation of students with SEN in all types of schools of Special Education and the Inclusion (or Integration) classes". (Ministry Decision. Governmental Newspaper. Leaf No 1319. 10th of October 2002. 2nd part. No of decision: 102357/G6).
P.L. 3194. (20th November of 2003) "Regulation of educational issues and other arrangements". Governmental newspaper. Leaf No 267. 1st part.
P.L. 2817/2000, 1st Part. Leaf Number 78 (14th of March of 2000). "Education of people with special needs and other issues".
Presidential decree (No 13, leaf number 11/ 20-01-2005) "Constitution of accessibility units for people with disabilities in the Ministry of Internal Affairs"
P.L. 2643 Sheet Number 220/28-09-1998, "Care for the employment of persons in special categories and other issues".
Organization for the Employment of Working Force, Special Needs Department, Volos, Magnesia, Greece
P.L. 2725/1999 "Amateur and professional sports and other issues"
P.L. 2947/09-10-2001, "Olympic hosting, constructions of Olympic concern and other issues"
P.L.3057/10-10-2002 "Modifications and additions to P.L. 2725/1999, regulation concerning the Ministry of Culture and other issues"
P.L. 3262/15-09-2004, "Article modificationa of P.L. 2725/1999 (F.E.K. 121 A') and other regulationa of sport issues".
Ministry decision - F.E.K. 1503/t.ß./08-11-2001. "Regulation for the function of Centres of diagnosis, evaluation and support for people with special needs and definition of the obligations of the personnel of this organizations".
Lampropoulou, L. and Padeliadou, S. (1995) "Inclusive education: the Greek experience" in O' Hanlon (ed) Inclusive education in Europe, London: David Fulton Publishers, pp. 49-60.

Sports Structure - Greece Aristea Mavromati

In Greece until now sports were in the hands of the General Secretariat of Sports as an umbrella of all sports for individuals with special needs, and the Ministry of Education, responsible of educational matters. In each of the 16 regions of Greece there are local governmental bodies, Offices of Physical Education and Sports, appointed from the central government. These local offices also carry out the responsibility of the recreational activities and sports for all.

G.N.C.A.S the greek national committee of adapted sports

Currently four officially sports federations for individuals with disabilities exist:

  1. Panhellenic Sport federation for people with Special Needs (P.A.O.M.)
    1 Millerou Str. - 10436 Athens.
    Phone: 0030 210 5238961, Fax.0030 210 5238967
  2. Panhellenic Sport Federation for people with Motor Disabilities (P.A.O.K.A.)
  3. Greek Federation for Deaf People (E.O.A.K)
    57 Solomou Str. - 10432 Athens
    Phone: 0030 210 5233968
  4. Federation of Greek Wheelchair Basketball players (O. E.K.M.C.)

Special Olympics are organized in Greece since 1987 and its organization is independent from other Sport Federations of Greece. As a main target it has to provide opportunities for training and taking part in several Games.

The Paralympic Games is an elite sport event in terms of both the organization and the actual competition. The organization of the Paralympic Games will be organized in accordance to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

Wheelchair basketball is among the most popular sports in Greece and there are 14 wheelchair basketball associations, among them the Hellenic Basketball Federation en HEBA. Every year a national championship tournament as well as the Final Four take place and the National Team represents Greece in several international games.



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