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Greece looks to seal place on ‘education map’

Greece is looking to entrench a position on the international education map with campuses across the country focusing on internationalisation. British Council’s Strategic Partnership in Education, launched in March, is also aimed at fostering collaboration between UK and Greek universities.

While "classics are what made Greece famous", a wide range of studies are available at institutions in the country – in engineering, computer science, economics and ecology, Michalakelis noted. Photo: Unsplash

"There are more than 150 students in the UK who would benefit from time in Greek universities"

Speaking at the British Council’s 2021 Going Global conference, assistant professor at the Department of Informatics and Telematics at the Harokopio University of Athens and president and co-founder of Study in Greece Christos Michalakelis explained English-taught programs are a “first big step towards internationalisation”.

Around 140 masters are already offered in English, French or German, he said.

Study in Greece participated in NAFSA for the first time in 2021, and is looking to continue attending future international education fairs such as the EU’s Study in Europe events, together with Greece’s State Scholarships Foundation (IKY).

“We are here to say that Greece is on the educational map,” Michalakelis said. “We are on the map and we intend to stay on the educational map.”

Part of the Study in Greece project’s core mission is to “support the internalisation and extroversion of the Greek universities, provide information for studying and living in Greece, and promote and support educational programs and activities in Greece for international students”, he added.

“We are on the map and we intend to stay on the educational map”

He also noted that Greek universities welcome the idea that partnership with UK universities will launch synergies for the mutual benefit of both parties.

“Interest on the UK side, interest on the Greek side, we’ve seen quite significant growth in the last few years in transnational education,” director of UUKi Vivienne Stern added.

“However, I think there are areas where there was a bit of a deficit in the UK Greek relationship and I’m going to pick out student mobility as one of them.”

Latest statistics show that only 150 UK students went to Greece in the 2016–17 academic year.

“The volume of UK students who go abroad anywhere in the world is pitifully low,” Stern said, adding UUKi has been working to address the issue with its outbound strategy.

“The fact that we only saw 150 UK students spend time studying, working or volunteering in Greece in the last year for which we’ve got figures, is just an indication of something that is not right.

“There are more than 150 students in the UK who would benefit from time in Greek universities, experiencing what they have to offer academically, the environment, the access to history, to culture, to major economic sectors such as shipping and tourism.”

Mobility programs could also “start to sow the seeds of new institutional partnerships”, she continued.

“Perhaps you start with a student exchange program, your academic staff get to know each other. Perhaps you will then be a little bit more aware of areas that you could collaborate in the delivery of joint programs or undertake joint research,” Stern suggested.

“Significant development” in English language provision, along with progress on professional qualification and academic recognition for students at private colleges, is “going to open up real possibility”, she concluded.

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