School has redefined its functions over the last decades in order to adjust to the changing rhythms and the new circumstances of post-modern society, family and the labour market. Yet in the current economic crisis within Greece, social reality is changing rapidly and schools are obliged to conform to these new conditions.
There is a greater need than ever for schools to either take specific measures to improve conditions or, even better, to completely redefine their social pedagogical orientation. This reorientation should aim among other things to systematically strengthen and cultivate each student’s skills. This would support their cognitive, emotional and social development and their self-efficacy, success and well-being (Mylonakou–Keke, 2013).
Towards this end, reinforcing the existing all-day school system could offer a feasible economic solution, especially if focused on strengthening and expanding the socio-pedagogical role within school. In this way a means of implementing desirable reforms within the school education system could be utilized.
In this paper we aim to examine and reflect critically on the function of all-day school from a sociopedagogical point of view: especially the role that the schools play in the current economic crisis. Our intention is to also uncover the extent to which the all-day school can fulfill its potential as a socio-pedagogical institution.
Theoretically, all-day school provides an alternative model for the use of time and space within the school programme (Appel & Rutz, 1998; Braun & Wetzel, 2000). This is because, compared to halfday school, all-day school provides to a greater extent the opportunity for children to engage in everyday social activities and to have experiences which encourage social development. This alternative model is a prerequisite for the desired social pedagogical function of school generally. Simultaneously, its creative use of time is its greatest advantage.
The evaluation of all-day school in Greece
During the last two decades, different types of all-day schools have been tried in Greece. From the very beginning, all these efforts (from 1989 to the present) have been supported by co-financed European programmes (Thoidis & Chaniotakis, 2012). Further, social and socio-political factors have also contributed to their introduction.
Αll-day schools have now become the bulwark for promoting a new model of school, so that the current crisis within conventional schools is overcome renewing the school’s pedagogical identity by expanding the opportunities that provided to the student.
In the early stages of the all-day school, the overall aim was to facilitate parents, especially mothers, who have work obligations, in entering the labour market. Since the late 1990s, educational policy has paid special attention to the function of all-day schools, focusing on educational goals (Pirgiotakis, 2004). Its main goals are providing students with a safe environment, at the end of the compulsory school day programme, as well as participation in activities of academic, cultural and athletic character, and completion of homework.
Recently all-day school has been reformed in line with the aims and concepts of the New European Programme. These reforms include the development of life-long learning, support for innovation, the application of new teaching programmes and the upgrading of the quality of educational provision (NSRF 2007-2013). Today, there are 1282 such primary schools operating in-line with the New European Programme. These schools have many new subjects and extra staff which cover various activities (e.g. music, dance, theater, etc.).
However, it seems that the all-day school system in Greece today finds itself in a state of crisis. Current research has found that the all-day school system has been unable to achieve its goals and that it falls short of the expectations of parents, teachers and administrative staff within the school (Androulakis et al., 2011). The same research has uncovered a chasm existing between its theoretical potential and its actual performance.
These findings are particularly import in the current economic climate, where this type of school programme has the potential to provide a credible solution to ‘crisis’ induced educational problems.
|Goals||Schooling||Lunch||Homework Completion||Teaching Staff||Programme||Support by European Programmes1|
|Traditional All-Day School (1836-1971)||Social Educational||Compulsory||School Lunch from 1927||At home||Teachers||Cohesive Programme|
|Classes of Creative Activities (1989)||Social||Optional||Snack||At home||Part time Teachers||Additional After School Programme||1st CSF (1989-93)|
|Pilot Creative Activities Programme (1994)||Social||Optional||Snack||Partly at School||Deputy Teachers||Additional After School Programme||2nd CSF (1994-99) 1st O.P. ‘Education’|
|Extended School Programmes with Creative Activities (1998-2002)||Social||Optional||Cold Lunch from home||Partly at school||Teachers and Deputy Teachers||Additional After School Programme||2nd CSF 1st O.P. ‘Education’|
|Pilot (experimental) All-Day School (1999-2011)||Educational Social||Compulsory||Cold lunch from home and school lunch||At school||Teachers and Specialty Teachers||Cohesive Programme||2nd CSF, 1stO.P. ‘Education’, 3st CSF, 2ndO.P. ‘Education’ (2000-2006)|
|Optional AllDay School (classic) 2002 –||Social Educational||Optional||Cold lunch from home||Partly at school||Teachers, Specialty Teachers, Part time Teachers||Additional After School Programme||3rd CSF, 2nd O.P.’Education’|
|All-Day Primary School with reformed programme2 2010-||Educational Social||Compulsory until 14: 00||Cold lunch from home||For the Α΄, Β΄ classes partly at school.||Full- time and part- time Teachers||Cohesive (2/3) with Additional Programme||NSRF 2007-13|
CSF: Community Support Framework, O. P. ‘Education’: Operational Programme of Education, NSRF: National Strategic Reference Framework. Available online: http://www.espa.gr
All-Day Primary School with revised cohesive programme
a) The traditional all-day school (1836- 1971).
From the early 19th century until the early 1970s, in Greece - as in many European countries- the so-called ‘traditional’ all-day school existed (classes all day, with a long midday break). This type of school was gradually abandoned after the Second World War (and finally abolished in 1971) and the half-day curriculum was established (Chaniotakis & Thoidis, 2002). This half-day curriculum meant that all students were at school until midday. Apart from this traditional type of all-day school, all the other types have been established within the last 30 years (Table I.)
b) Classes of creative activities (1989).
By the mid-1980’s the social, economic and educational conditions in Greece had changed radically. This resulted in the reappearance of all-day schools. This was initiated mainly by parents, who were hiring and paying teachers to occupy their children during afternoon hours. Their intention, primarily, was to solve the problem of childcare for working parents.
c) Pilot Creative Activities Programme for pupils (1994).
In the mid-90s the Ministry of Education initiated a pilot application of creative activity programmes for children of working parents. In this instance, The Ministry of Education had the responsibility for the placement of permanent or deputy teachers.
d) The 1997 reform.
In 1997 the Ministry of Education took full responsibility for the adoption of the all-day school system in Greece. From the school year 1998-99, two different types of all-day schools began to run simultaneously: the optional and the compulsory.
e) Optional all-day school: Extended school programmes with Creative Activities classes (1998). In the first year of optional all-day school, one thousand (1000) classes were run throughout the whole country, supervised by the Ministry of Education. Student attendance at these afternoon classes was optional. This particular programme included lunch and rest for the students, as well as homework preparation and creative activities. Schools that hosted such programmes were called all-day schools by the Greek educational society.
f) Compulsory all-day school: Pilot all-day schools (1999-2011).
The idea of an all-day school, a complete educational model with compulsory full-day schedule for all students, was introduced through 28 Pilot all-day Schools across the country. These schools began operating during the school year 1998-99 and had a clear pedagogical orientation.
This type of all-day school was proposed as an ideal educational model. It would facilitate working parents and help overcome the crisis within the traditional school; by renewing and re-orientating its educational aims. After 2003 these types of schools, renamed as Experimental all-day schools, were no longer systematically monitored by educational policy makers. This resulted in educational policy shifting away from the compulsory to the optional all-day school.
Contemporary forms of all-day school (Optional all-day school and All-Day Primary School with reformed programme)
a) Optional all-day school (2002) (classic all-day school).
The optional all-day school is a continuation of the extended school programme.
From 2002-03 this type of school includes not only social but also educational aims. It still operates as an open all-day school that all students can choose to attend. There are no restrictions on whether or not students come from two-parent or single-parent families or if one or both parents work. In recent years, 65% of primary schools in Greece have offered an optional all-day school section.
|TIME SCHEDULE IN ALL-DAY SCHOOLS3|
| (2011-12)||Optional All-Day School (classic)||All-Day Primary School with revised cohesive programme|
|Schools with six or more classes||1/class,2/cl,3/cl,4/cl,5/cl|
programme (after half day school)
of students: 15)
|1st Hour||12:35–13:15||1st Hour 12:50-13:30||8:00-14:00|
|Break||13:15-13:20||Lunch 13:30-13:55 Break|
|Lunch, Rest time||14:00-14:40 or|
|3nd Hour 13:55-14:30||Lunch, 14:05-14:40 Rest time|
|Break||14:40-14:50||Break 14:30-14:40||Break 14:40-14:50|
|3nd Hour||14:50-15:30||3nd Hour 14:40-15:15||1st Hour 14:50-15:30|
|Break||15:30-15:40||Break 15:15-15-25||Break 15:30-15:40|
|4th Hour||15:40-16:15||4th Hour 15:25-16:00||2nd Hour 15:40-16:15|
Issue. 12/620/61531/Γ1 (Government’s Gazette 804/2010, τ.Β΄),Iissue.12/520/61575/30-5-2011 (Government’s Gazette 1327/2011 τ.Β΄)
The Reception period (morning zone) is a time period of optional attendance, from 7am to 8 am, before the school day starts when working parents can leave their children in school care. The minimum number of students is 5 in the Optional All-day School and 10 in the All-day School with revised cohesive programme.
For the first two classes the lunch break can be postponed after a decision of the teachers’ association.
|Functioning hours in All-day Schools6|
|2012-13||Optional School All-Day (classic)||All-Day Primary School with revised cohesive programme|
|Six or more classes||1/class, 2/cl,3/cl,4/cl,5/cl||New School|
|Teaching Subjects and activities||Classes A΄and B΄ (20 hours)||classes Α΄and Β΄ (20 hours)||Classes A΄and B΄ (10 hours)|
( - )
( - )
( - )
2 subjects (2+2 hours)
( - )
|108 or 159 hours|
From 1 to 5 hours
( - )
From 1 to 5 hours
( - )
From 1 to 5 hours
|Classes C΄ and D΄ (15 hours)||Class C΄||Class C΄|
|7 hours 2 hours 2 hours|
( - )
|From 7 to 8 hours|
From 2 to 4 hours
( - )
|From 0 to 5 hours|
From 1 to 5 hours
From 1 to 5 hours
From 1 to 5 hours (Music)
From 1 to 5 hours
|Classes E΄and F΄ (13 hours)||Classes D΄, Ε΄ and F΄||Classes D΄, Ε΄ and F΄ (10 hours)|
Second foreign language
|7 hours 2 hours 2 hours|
1 subject 2 hours
( - )
( - )
|From 7 to 8 hours|
From 2 to 4hours
1 or 211
( - )
( - )
|From 0 to 5 hours|
From 1 to 5 hours
From 1 to 5 hours
From 1 to 5 hours (Arts)
From 1 to 5 hours (music)
From 1 to 5 hours (Drama
From 1 to 5 hours for Ε΄and F΄)
Issue 50/175/58862/Γ1/25.5.2012, Issue 50/176/58865/Γ1/25.5.2012,Issue 61044/Γ1/30-5-2012
Optional subjects are sport, arts, drama education, music and dance.
In sll-day schools of up to 5 classes, the ten hours allocated for homework are given in first and second class. If the first and second grade functions as one class, the first five hours are given, with the remainder five given only with the approval of the teachers’ association.
In All-day schools with 6 and more classes 5 hours are allocated for homework in the first two classes and the remaining hours to other classes with approval of teachers association.
For the 3rd class homework time and optional subjects are dependent up on the class, with which there is an opportunity to teach jointly/co-teach.
The number of subjects (one or two) depends on the distribution of the classes.
By summarizing research from studies that concern (optional) all-day schools, it has been revealed that this innovation has neither achieved its goals nor fulfilled the expectations of those involved in optional all-day school programmes. This conclusion is based on the following basic problems appearing to still exist:
There is a significant drop out rate of students during the school year. This drop out rate is due the expectations of parents not being fulfilled by the services of all-day school (Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs, Operational Programme of Education, European Social Fund, 2007).
There is another important reason students leave all-day school. Greece has an extensive, private education market that operates in the afternoon. This private education appears to have become a part of students’ everyday life and it does not leave them much free time (Chaniotakis, 2004; Thoidis & Chaniotakis, 2008; Tsakiridou & Research team, 2006). After school, students are expected to participate in further academic, cultural or sporting activities (foreign languages, computers, art, music, dancing, etc.).
As a result of the above problems, the implementation of all-day schools had had limited concerns for basic educational requirements. Further, the Ministry of Education did not give careful attention to the fulfillment of all the necessary preconditions for the school’s operation.
b) All-Day Primary School with reformed programme 2011 (revised cohesive programme). In 2011 another type of all-day school appeared and fell between the compulsory and optional all-day school. The Ministry named this new option the All-Day School with revised cohesive programme. Attendance is compulsory for all students until 2 p.m., followed by an optional all-day school programme. This means, that after two o’clock, students can stay at school until four o’clock if they wish.
Today, there are 1282 such primary schools. These schools have many new subjects and extra staff which cover various activities (e.g. music, dance, theater, etc.). Moreover, this type of all-day school is integrated into a new European Programme, which aims to promote lifelong learning, to support innovative pilot applications and to upgrade the quality of education.
After one year of these schools’ operation, there is still not sufficient research to assess their performance.
Some scholars express the following concerns about these new schools (Androulakis et al., 2011):
The schedule is overloaded and (young) pupils get tired,
Many teachers take over from each other during the day
What had been the student's free time is converted into school time
There is not enough time for homework completion (3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th grades)
The programme does not allow enough time for the lunch break.
Problems and dysfunctions of all-day school
Research data indicates that the all-day school provides a solution to the problem of childcare; particularly during Greece’s current economic crisis and its impact on its society. It facilitates parents either to find work (36.4% of parents with children in all-day school stated that they were able to find work), or to improve their working conditions (73.4%) (VPRC Institute 2007). It also seems that all-day school can provide a safe childcare environment away from the home environment which may be adversely affected by social and economic conditions and may constitute an educational environment free of social and educational inequalities (Pirgiotakis, 2004).
The all-day school fulfils to some degree its social function but it fails to meet its educational aims. According to research, homework preparation, new courses and creative activities face a lot of functional problems (Chaniotakis et al., 2009; Thoidis & Chaniotakis, 2008; 2010). This is indicated by a gap that has been recorded between the philosophy of the all-day school and the way it operates (Therianos, 2004; Thoidis & Chaniotakis, 2011). Therefore, the all-day school becomes an unattractive option for those parents who do not need it as a social services because they have already found other solutions for childcare .
One basic reason for the all-day school’s not fulfilling its educational purpose is that its afternoon provision works as an ‘add on’ supplement. There is no efficient integration of the main school curriculum within the all-day school programme.
So the all-day school does not constitute a profound and total renewal and restructuring of the primary school. This predicament is worsened by the fact that all-day school has expanded very quickly, without any systematic planning. Perhaps if there had been a ‘bottom up’ approach, many problems would have been avoided (Thoidis & Chaniotakis, 2012).
It is worth-mentioning a main conclusion of the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) survey here. This is the claim that countries which have high ranking educational systems implement full-day education. Unfortunately, in Greece the results of the «PISA» survey have not been the subject of open debate, as happened in other European countries.
What is clear is that there have been a negative influences on the educational content of all-day school, as described above:
The management of teaching staff and deficiencies in school equipment and school buildings.
Basically, the all-day school operates as a supplement to the morning school, rather than being integrated into the school. Also, it fails to address weaknesses and deficiencies found in the morning programme.
It works only for those who need it and for as long as they need it.
The challenge faced here is not one of shifting the problems of the half- day school to the all-day school, but of reforming and improving the functioning and organization of the half-day school programme so that it is integrated with the all-day school programme (Chaniotakis & Thoidis, 2002; Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs, Operational Programme of Education, European Social Fund, 2007).
An assessment of the educational policy of all-day school leads to the conclusion that there has not been continuity and consistency in the design and implementation of these educational measures to ensure the effective institution of the all-day school.
The current economic crisis and the social pedagogical role of the all-day school
The current economic crisis in Greece has brought about a dramatic reduction in working people’s income. It has lead to insecure employment, unemployment and eventually poverty, driving more and more population groups to social isolation (Matsaganis & Leventi, 2013). These phenomena are related to an increase in diseases and mental disorders, an increase in daily alcohol consumption, domestic violence and suicide (Liaropoulos, 2013). According to Eurostat statistics the percentage of children under 18 years old who live in households where there no adults in employment, doubled from 5.3% in 2002 to 9.2% in 2011 (UNICEF, 2013). According to statistics provided by UNICEF (2013), the number of poor or socially isolated children totaled 597.000 in 2011, having risen by 9.1% compared to 2010. Seven out of ten parents, who belong to financially weaker social classes, stated that they had to cut down their spending for their children (Pulse R.C. & ΕΚΚΕ, 2011). As raised by the Greek Teacher’s Union, in schools there are frequent reports of students’ fainting due to malnutrition (Newspaper ‘To Vima’ 7/02/2013). There has also been an increase in students’ aggressive behavior due to the families’ economic state (The Greek Ombudsman, 2012). There has been a steady increase in the number of cases where parents are not able to provide their children with the necessities of life and are therefore asking for their children to be placed in an institution until they can get back on their feet (Newspaper ‘Kathimerini’, 12/07/2013). There has also been an increase in the number of students who do not bring a packed lunch to school and are malnourished, which has led to initiatives being taken by citizen groups or municipalities who try to help through volunteer work or other programmes.
According to research carried out in 88 schools by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, one in three students were found to be suffering from ‘nutritional insecurity with existent hunger’ (Newspaper ‘To Vima’, 17-02-2013). Furthermore research conducted by Adolescent Councilors Group for Child Advocacy entitled ‘The consequences of the crisis for school pupils’, found that the vast majority of pupils reported that the economic crisis had affected both their family life and their education (Committee on the Rights of the Child, 2012).
The economic crisis, and the subsequent austerity measures that have been enforced in Greece, have not only affected the individual and social living conditions - which have deteriorated rapidly. They have also directly influenced more general political choices, which are becoming increasingly neoliberal. This has become evident in the radical changes that have taken place in the fields of social politics and employment due to the cutbacks in social welfare programmes, and the increasing emphasis on the privatization of social services. This also has become evident in the transformation of the contemporary welfare state, which is constantly shrinking. It can be seen in the closing down or privatization of some childcare institutions and family and child support. The social paradigm according to which the public domain should have no responsibility for the provision of basic social services, is constantly gaining ground (Photopoulos, 2011).
In view of the above, the question that arises is whether the ‘public provision’ of socio-pedagogical services will continue in the future, or will it be replaced by the commercialised provision of services paid by the ‘customer’. This would correspond with the existing international trend towards the privatization of the education and social care sectors, within the service provision market of developing ‘late-capitalism’ (Bauman, 1997; Müller, 2001). However, it is exactly at this time in Greece, when the economic crisis is creating huge human and social problems that the allday school could take on extra responsibilities it could help support the family and the child through its various social provision and processes. This could be achieved through a variety of activities and processes such as: the organization of student groups with common interests and inclinations; consultation with students; cooperation with other institutions and groups; the management of homework at school; support for students with learning difficulties, or behavioral challenges; the provision of nutritional advice; opening the school to the community; leisure time guidance and many others functions (Appel/ Rutz, 1998; Behr et al., 2005; Holtappels, 1994).
Most of all, it is necessary to redefine the goals and the directions of the all-day school on a new basis. As described above, in Greece, the function of the all-day school, in the different phases of its history, has been combined with pedagogical and social goals. This has been regardless of whether such a combining of functions and goals was clearly stated or not. In the present economic and social conditions, all pedagogical and social goals should be clearly defined and adapted to the needs of today’s reality. Social Pedagogy in the form of social provision within the school (Thoidis, 2002) could contribute greatly to the improvement of the education provided by the all-day school.
In Greece, the future of the all-day school depends on a number of factors, not the least of which is a greater of awareness of the role of socio-pedagogy has played. There is also a general need for a greater clarity as to the provisions essential aims. Yet within the current economic crisis, and its consequences, there are basic factors that inhibit the availability of solutions to the problems of such provision. The educational requirements of all-day school are associated with realistic costs and not with ‘cheap solutions’ (Thoidis & Chaniotakis, 2012). This applies both to the coverage of teaching staff and to its needs for school equipment and buildings. Greece is currently experiencing a tremendous economic crisis which influences all public sectors. Education as part of social services cannot remain untouched (European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2013). So the model of all-day school, as a part of Greek educational system, has to be able to offer practical rather than theoretical solutions to economic problems. This is important because any possible decrease in all-day schools will work against equality of educational and social opportunities parents and for children from non-privileged socio-cultural backgrounds. This is in direct opposition to the ideology of the all-day school as, whose intention has been to offer an educational and social service not only for children from particular social groups, but for all.
It is a fact that the educational policy of this country serves the preferences of the Government in combination with the general aims of European policies. The aims of the European Union, European Funds finance to a great extent educational measures in Greece. However as Greek society struggles under the impact of the economic crisis, the option of alternative approaches cannot be excluded. In Greece, in the last years, alternative approaches have begun to emerge for instance, in the form of mutual aid and social networks. Therefore, in the future, alternative solutions, which take advantage of existing social networks, should be explored. For example by encouraging cooperation between the school itself and organizations providing extracurricular activities in the form of fullday education (After School Programmes, Extended Schools, Community Schools etc.) (Thoidis & Chaniotakis, 2012).
Any gaps and deficiencies in the general operation of school (curriculum, timetable, school buildings, school labs, school equipment etc.) could mostly be addressed by the school as well as by private organizations or institutions. In addition, these gaps and deficiencies could be countered by introducing cultural activities, educational procedures and care programmes for children and teenagers (Coelen, 2004). In this way, economies of scale are achievable.
Next, the participation of school in broader social processes, such as the expansion of school hours combined with the benefits of community education, would help connect school with students’ families, local community and the wider society. It would bring a new and different ‘balance’ between formal and informal education, which would adopt a different perception of the social pedagogical role of the school setting the basis and motivation for lifelong learning; this means that emphasis is given to the social pedagogical role of the school that redefines the ‘chronotope’ of education influenced by the interaction between the schooling (i.e. formal education) and out-ofschool (i.e. informal) education (Mylonakou-Keke, 2009).
Finally, since there seems to be little political will for the effective support of all-day school, the educational, scientific and academic community must put pressure on politicians in order to influence their decisions about education, so as to achieve the improvement of the operation of the all-day school in general. In addition, policies that encourage the decentralization of the Greek educational system are required in order to convert the all-day school into an autonomous and open school model. This type of autonomous and active all-day school would participate in educational and community networks. In this way, the particular model of school would have the ability and flexibility to fulfill the specific need of each locality, and provide a better quality of school life, as well as the continuous improvement of learning achievement.