Until the 1980’s the education of preschool and primary school teachers took place in two-year teacher-training institutes, the so-called Schools of Preschool Teachers and Pedagogic Academies respectively. However, in 1982 four-year higher education programs were established with the aim of a scientifically-based training of teachers. Greece was, in fact, one of the first countries in Europe to undertake such a reform of teacher training, moreover at a time of an in-depth curriculum reconstruction of primary and secondary education.
The structure and function of education departments in Greek universities were delineated by Law 1268/82 (article 1, paragraph 2) and Presidential Decree 320/83 (article 2). Four aims were set out: a) cultivating the educational sciences through theoretical and applied research and teaching, b) offering training for a scientific or a professional teacher’s career, c) contributing to the improvement of education and its pedagogigal needs, d) contributing to solutions of pedagogical problems. The earliest department of Education were established at the Universities of Athens, Thessaloniki, Patra, Ioannina and Crete in the academic year 1984-1985 and were subsequently expanded. More particularly, the Faculty of Education for Preschool Teachers was established at the University of Athens in the academic year 1987-1988 bearing its first graduates in 1991. In 1997 it was, however, renamed Department of Early Childhood Education (DECE). While traditionally connected with preschool education, it is now oriented to the early years of schooling, as the second year of kindergarten has become compulsory.
In the academic year 2013-14 a School of Education was established an the University of Athens, with the DECE placed alongside the related Department of Primary Education.
In 2014-15 the General Assembly of the Department decided the founding of three departments, whose official establishment is still pending a decision from the Ministry of Education:
Sciences and arts: educational practices and innovations
Child development – Differentiated, special and inclusive pedagogy