Arts education in Greece is subject to a two-tiered system. On the one hand, it concerns the formal school curriculum, which was gradually reformed during the 1990s by the Ministry of Education to include a stronger arts education component, both at primary and secondary school levels. In addition, special music secondary schools were created, in recognition of the provisions required for musical education. On the other hand, arts education is the province of informal learning activities and programmes, organised by departments of the Ministry of Culture or by not-for-profit organisations in the arts, in loose association with the school system.
A model initiative, on account of its broad scope and interdisciplinary learning methodologies, is the Melina programme, launched in 1995 by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education, was abandoned in 2008. The programme brought together more than a hundred Greek primary schools with a broad alliance of cultural organisations, aiming to nurture artistic sensitivity and creativity among both teachers and pupils; programme activities included seminars for teachers, the production of model learning materials and kits, model educational visits to arts sites and structured visits of artists to schools. The need to establish strong links between culture and the arts, and education, has been reaffirmed in the recently published White Paper on contemporary culture (2012), raising hopes that a follow up programme may be established.
Other programmes of arts education include:
- the Museums and Schools Programme of the Greek Section of ICOM;
- educational programmes and “museum kits” intended for school use produced by the Centre of Educational Programmes of the Department of Prehistoric and Cultural Antiquities and by the Department of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Antiquities;
- programmes run by the National Book Centre and by the Organisation for Children’s and Adolescents’ Book, intended to encourage creative writing and reading of literature among school children;
- a special programme for cinema education organised by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture together with the Film Festival of Thessaloniki was reintroduced in 2012. The programme had taken place between 2000 and 2004 with the participation of 2 364 primary education schools reaching 156 students and 601 secondary education schools reaching 77 000 students that created films that were presented at a Student Film Festival;
- film education seminars to schools have also been provided by the Greek Film Archive, and until recently by the network of local cinema venues;
- the educational programmes of the Greek Opera House (ELS), the Athens and Thessaloniki Concert Halls, the Athens and Thessaloniki Odeion);
- the museum educational programmes of the relevant centralised unit of the Ministry of Culturel and Tourism, and of the new Acropolis Museum;
- the collections-based educational programmes run by private cultural organisations, such as the Greek Literary and Historical Archive (ELIA), the Benaki Museum, and the Cycladic Art Museum; and
- the educational facilities and programmes of the Foundation of the Hellenic World, involving the use of state-of-the-art information technology media, such as virtual reality installations, as a means of interpretation and learning about Greek history and culture.