Campaigns and activities
Law 3699, passed in the fall of 2008, establishes the compulsory nature of education for students with disabilities and special educational needs, affirming that it is an integral part of public free education and promoting the principle of integrated education. Greece (October 2009)
According to the above assessment on the type and the degree of disability that a student has, they may be enrolled in: a) mainstream schools attending either the regular classroom with parallel support or special sections/classes of the school, or b) Special Education Schools. The Special Education Schools cover pre-school, primary and secondary education levels including vocational education.
As regards the national examinations for entry to higher education (Pan-Hellenic exams), special examination arrangements are made for disabled or special needs students: e.g. oral examinations for blind pupils.
Education for students with disabilities and special educational needs is provided in either mainstream or special schools and extends from the preschool years to the age of 23. The pupil may attend either the general school or Special Education School Units (SMEAE). Blind or limited vision pupils, as well as autistic pupils exhibiting a high level of functioning, may attend general school classes supported by the class teacher and, as the case may be, by Special Educational Staff. In the 2007/08 school year, there were 23,470 students enrolled in programs of special education, of whom 16,118 (72 %) attended mainstream schools (special sections and regular classrooms) while 6,659 (28 %) attended Special Education Schools (of all levels and types).
Regarding the provision of education to pupils with disabilities or special educational needs there are special education "Nipiagogeia" or sections which are included in the usual Nipiagogeia that have special scientifically trained staff.
The "SUN" School for the Blind in Northern Greece (SBNG); is the only institution in the region of Northern Greece to host and train people with impaired vision. There are established services such as: Orientation Mobility and Daily Living Skills, a Talking Books Library, Employment and Career Advising Service, Social Workers Service, and others. Also the specific school provides courses for the Braille code to teachers and students from special and general education.
The Center for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind (C.E.R.B) is a Legal Entity of Public Law, supervised by the Ministry of Public Health and Social Solidarity (Welfare). The C.E.R.B is active in many ways in order to offer the best possible support to visually impaired individuals. More analytically it comprises departments such as Social Service, boardinghouse, library, psychological support, teaching aids workshop, Mobility - Orientation and Daily Living Skills. The C.E.R.B supports visually impaired individuals from all over Greece, with the objective of creating equal opportunities for them by providing them education and thus enabling their accession in society.
The Special Education Teacher, according to the type and degree of the special education needs of his/her pupils:
The Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity provides an allowance to blind pupils attending special schools. In addition, special Braille machines can be lent to pupils, school books are provided for free, as well as transport and meals.
The Lighthouse for the Blind of Greece is an association specifically, non-profit, subsidized and overseen by the Ministry of Public Health and Social Solidarity (Welfare). The association provides the following in brief: Lending Library with Braille and Audio books, Braille Printing Center, Audio Books recording studio, Training and Rehabilitation Center for the visually impaired.
Emphasis is placed on ensuring curricular as well as electronic accessibility which means providing for modification and adaptation of educational and teaching material that includes computer hardware and software. In particular, two advisory committees have been created for monitoring matters of physical and electronic access; whereas public libraries (belonging to the Ministry of National Education) have been equipped with specially modified computers and other related equipment. Moreover, the Ministry of Education has provided approximately 4,000 specially adapted computers to blind pupils and pupils with visual, kinetic or mental disabilities.
The Panhellenic Association of the Blind (PAB) was established in 1932 and is the first Organization of the blind and all other handicapped in Greece. PAB has established services for blind people such as: Orientation Mobility and Daily Living Skills, a Talking Books Library, Employment and Career Advising Service, Social Workers Service, and others.