Compulsory education in Crete, as in the rest of Greece, begins at age 6. Many children attend either a public or private crèche as early as 2½ years of age. Most start, though, by attending kindergarten at age 5 and then enter primary school the following year. Primary education lasts for six years. From 12 – 15 years of age students attend gymnaseio, or lower secondary school, which completes their required education. Most children, however, carry on with their studies, attending three years of upper secondary school, either in unified studies or at a technical vocational school.
Public higher education is divided into Universities and Technological Training Institutes. Admission is based on national exams which take place in the second and third years of upper secondary school. A large number of Greek students elect to do their university studies abroad.
English-speaking children who enter the Greek public school system at an early age tend to adapt better and learn the language quickly. The situation is more difficult for older children who do not speak Greek, but much depends on the individual child. At this time there are no English-language, British curriculum schools on Crete. If you want to ensure that your children do not lose touch with their native culture, the Cross-Cultural Centre in Chania specialises in part-time English language and cultural programs for English-speaking and bilingual children.
If you want to start learning Greek, check out our special guide.