The five pilot IEKs are established with the objective to support the design and development of innovations in post-secondary VET.
The five new thematic IEKs will cover the fields of:
- STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics);
- health, social welfare and wellness services;
- natural environment;
- sports and leisure;
- product processing and sustainable development.
The thematic IEKs aim to contribute to the development of specific economic sectors and deliver an innovative education experience, applying successful work-based learning practices, novel teaching methods and up-to-date curricula.
According to the education minister, Ms Niki Kerameos, the government intends to provide high-quality VET, which can develop the knowledge and skills needed in emerging economic sectors and modern professions. The ministry also introduces the paid internship programme for IEK learners, aiming to provide VET courses and learning opportunities tailored to young learners’ inclinations and increasing their opportunities to enter the labour market. Although the internship programme for IEK has a longstanding tradition, the paid internship aims to raise IEK attractiveness and improve the employment prospect of IEK graduates. During the internship, interns will receive compensation equal to 80% of the legal, statutory wage limit of an unskilled worker.
To increase permeability and improve access to VET, the education ministry introduced, from the school year 2021/22, the right for upper secondary education graduates (holders of an EQF level 4 qualification) to apply for attending an IEK programme through a digital application process (parallilo michanografiko deltio). The total number of candidates wishing to study in a public IEK was 22 790, while the total number of the candidates that gained entrance to IEKs was 8 594. Following excessive demand, the education ministry announced that 20 000 more places would become available. Public IEK programmes, administered by relevant ministries, cover different subject domains in health, hospitality, business, and engineering, with a high demand in the labour market.
These developments are in line with the reform law approved in December 2020, introducing a new legal framework regulating VET and lifelong learning and establishing the national system of VET at EQF levels 3, 4 and 5. The main objectives of the new legal framework include the provision of knowledge, skills and competences in accordance with the needs of the labour market, the strengthening of permeability between education levels and the improvement of employability for all. The VET reform goes hand in hand with the Osnabrück objectives for resilience and excellence through qualitative, inclusive and flexible VET.
Data on applications and successful applicants to IEK programmes (Apotelesmata ipopsifion IEK)