5. Arts and cultural education
Last update: October, 2013
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.
Last update: October, 2013
The educational system is currently undergoing change however, arts education in schools is a high priority because of the opportunity that offers students to opportunity to explore creative paths. Arts education, Music and Theatre are taught from an early age at primary school level; a lot of importance is attributed to the learning of Greek and Ancient Greek and Contemporary Greek Literature. Subjects such as Art History, Design and European Literature are offered as optional courses for second level students. A new pilot school programme is being introduced in 2012 which foresees further changes in the educational system.
Last update: October, 2013
Professional education in the arts and cultural management is still governed by traditional structures in Greece. There are several academic departments of theatre studies, art history, archaeology, anthropology, cultural and media studies.
Artistic education in the fine arts is integrated within official tertiary education, mainly through the Athens School of Fine Arts and the Fine Arts Department of the University of Thessaloniki. On the other hand, the main pillar of creative artistic education in music consists of a system of privately run conservatories and independent teachers, which is only nominally regulated by the Ministry and Culture. Drama education is provided by the National Theatre in Athens, and the State Theatre of Northern Greece in Thessaloniki, as well as by many privately run theatre schools. The State School of Dance, operating under the Ministry of Culture and Culture, is an institution aiming to create well-rounded and technically trained dancers, choreographers and dance teachers.
A Department of Film Studies was introduced inside the Faculty of Fine Arts of Thessaloniki and is operating since the academic year 2004-2005, while private schools traditionally providing film training (like the Stavrakos Film School) are not offered any official certification since 2004.
Only a handful of specialised academic programmes for culture professionals are currently offered: undergraduate and postgraduate courses in cultural management in Panteion University, museum studies postgraduate programmes in the Universities of Athens and Thessaloniki, postgraduate programmes in digital media arts in the Athens School of Fine Arts and in the University of the Aegean, and an undergraduate programme in cultural communication and technology in the University of the Aegean. According to Eurostat (2004-2005), tertiary education students by field of education related to culture represent 1.7% of all tertiary education students (63 830 students (9.9%) in Humanities, 10 942 students (17%) in Arts, 7 890 students (35%) in Journalism and Communication and 22 396 students (3.5%) in Architecture and Buildings).
Universities are asked to prepare plans for harmonisation with the Bologna process under a new Higher Education Law passed in Parliament in summer 2007.
Music high schools are supervised by the Ministry of Education, while education in music conservatories still lies under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism; current wisdom is to maintain, and perhaps strengthen, the regulatory role of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism over music conservatories and in general over professional education in the arts.
Last update: October, 2013
Several cultural institutions provide educational programmes in the field of culture addressing children, young people and adults. Several museums, such as the National Archaeological, the Byzantine and Christian, the Benaki, the Numismatic, and the Acropolis Museum, offer free educational activities for primary, middle and high school students. Other initiatives have been an opera education programme for school students organised by the Athens Music Hall in 2011, an educational programme organised by the Archaeological Museum of Marathon for the celebration of 2.500 years since the Battle of Marathon, programmes related to visual arts and history organised by the Theoharakis Foundation or the Herakleidon Museum, etc.
There are private initiatives offering a range of arts-related educational programmes and recreational activities for children and young people in different forms of art (theatre, visual arts, games, comics etc). Moreover, several organisations offer cultural leisure activities and arts- related education for adults in the form of seminars or short courses (not leading to any recognised diploma) in different fields, ranging from creative writing to film production.
Please find the available information on this subject in 5.3.