Contributing factors included:
- IEKs’ potential to become an effective policy instrument in combating unemployment: internship or apprenticeship placements upgrade trainee qualifications, ease the acquisition of required professional knowledge and skills, and enable smooth transition from initial training to work;
- the important steps taken to raise quality and link IEK studies and the labour market (including updated study guides developed by field and education experts, under the supervision of the General Secretariat of LLL);
- the increased attractiveness of IEK programmes because of the VET education upgrading scheme being implemented;
- the significance of policy developments aimed at enhancing the rationale of equal opportunities and preventing student drop-out and exclusion.
Apart from these elements of the National strategy for the upgrade of VET, in 2017 there was an increase in funding for public IEKs. This aimed primarily at the modernisation of their laboratory equipment, which also contributed in upgrading the quality of IEK programmes.
Certification exams for new specialisations
Students who had successfully completed the new up-to-date IEK specialisations had, for the first time in autumn 2017, the opportunity to participate in practical and theoretical vocational training certification examinations, conducted under the jurisdiction of the National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP). To ensure smooth implementation of IEK programmes and the elimination of delays in the certification procedure:
- updated study guides were developed;
- initial vocational training programmes were validated by the Board of Directors of EOPPEP;
- a pool of specialisation-specific exam questions was created, classified by their degree of difficulty.
As a result, 10 232 IEK graduates (79% in new specialisations) took part in certification exams to gain an upper secondary VET certificate and an EQF level 5 occupational specialisation diploma.
Smooth and efficient operation of IEKs in Greece is a combined result of recent developments, and of the ministry’s steady commitment to certification examinations for IEK graduates.