SAE Researches on Hellenism Australia Education


3. Education

3.1 Educative level

The facts of this paragraph have to do only the first generation of emigrants and they concern the age that the emigrants abandoned school.The basic conclusions of the statistical analysis is that an important percentage of Greeks (32.8%) abandoned school before the age of 13, and an also important percentage (7.2%) did not go to school at all.The overwhelming majority of the Greek of first generation (74.3%) abandoned school before the age of 16, that is to say that did not got any secondary education. Only a percentage of 2.4% have completed an academic education.

3.2 Greek schools

Greek education is provided to Greek children of Australia in schools that function with the responsibility of five institutions:

The Archdiocese.

Greek Orthodox Communities.

Other independent Communities.


The Australian state.

Official calculations rise the number of students that go to these schools to 60.000.Approximately 18.000 of them go to schools that function with responsibility of the Archdiocese.The worrying thing about the Greek education in Australia is that a great number of Greek children(perhaps 20.000) do not have any kind of Greek education, so that they are progressively cut away from the body of the Greek community and their assimilation becomes easier.These children belong mainly in the third and fourth generation.

The first evening schools that operated in Australia did not have an additional character to the education that provided the daily Australian school.Until 1971 they were almost illegal, under the auspices of the Catechistical school, the religious institution, the ecclesiastical tuition centre, since it was prohibited the teaching of other language apart from the English language.

The first evening schools were founded in Sydney in 1898 and in Melbourne in 1904, while from 1915 came into operation the school “Pittakos the Mytelenian” in Perth, from 1924 a Greek school in Port Pirrie and from 1936 Greek schools operated in Adelaide and Darwin.Today, approximately 55.000 students learn Greek in the evening schools of the community.One of the difficulties that these schools face is to be addressed simultaneously in students of different ages and faculties, something that causes discontent to the students, reduction of interest, frequent absences and progressive transfer to the English language.These difficulties are strengthened by the lack of talented and professionally educated schoolteachers, the lack of instructive material and the utilisation of schoolteachers that are most of the times considered by the students as foreigners rather than Greek-Australians.

Thus, even if the evening schools had been an important factor for the maintenance of the language, it is estimated that they have already achieved their historical role. They have been operating since 1895 as precursors, for the morning Independent Bilingual Schools.Without however sufficient learning of the language, the Modern Greek language may not have a future in Australia.

The first Community High school was founded in the Brunswick and it was the first Greek High school in which two theologians professors, a philologist and a lawyer were teaching.

The course of the Greek language was taught for the first time in 1968as a test lesson in t two Australian Secondary schools, while in 1972 the language began to be taught in other two Secondary schools of Victoria.In Sydney the Greek language was experimentally taught in only one Secondary school in 1973, while in Southern Australia since 1973 an Elementary school and eight Secondary schools implemented the teaching of the Greek language.

According to some facts of the Archdiocese of Australia, today are operating in Australia under the responsibility of the Archdiocese, 1 kindergarten, 194 Elementary schools, in which study 9.985 students, 58 Secondary schools in which study 2.751 students and 121 Catechistical Schools(Sunday Schools), in which study 4.736 students.Thus, a total of approximatelly 18.000 students study at the schools that operate with the responsibility of the Archdiocese.All these schools operate in the afternoons and/or Saturdays.The afternoon schools operates after the hours of operation of the regular Australians schools, usually two-houred, and provide education mainly in the Greek language, literature, history, religion lessons, geography, and national cultural tradition.This schools are geographic distributed, according to the division of the Archiepiscopal Regions:

Moreover, there are in operation 6 daily bilingual colleges, in which study in total 1755 students.Three of them operate in the New South Wales (Kingsford, Bankstown, Lakemba), two in Victoria (Brunswick, Oakleigh) and one in South Australia (Thebarton).These schools are wholly recognized by the Australian Ministry of Education and follow the official program of the Ministry, providing the same possibilities and rights to their students with those of the students of regular public schools.The lessons in Greek are included in the program of teaching.

According to the facts of the Greek Ministry of Education, in 4 of the bigger (by number of Greeks living there) cities of Australia, that is to say Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, between 1991-1992 operated in total 76 Public Australian Elementary schools, in the program of which has been included the teaching of the Greek language, as well as 60 Public Australian Secondary schools.It should however be mentioned that a lot of institutions of the Greek homogeny consider this institution dangerous, because it promotes the assimilation of the Greek children, since the Greek language is taught practically as a foreign language, cut off from the history and the traditions of the Greek Nation.

3.3 Educational personnel

The overwhelming percentage of teachers that teaches in the afternoon Greek schools of the Australian homogeny (those of the community and the Archdiocese) are graduates from Greek or Cypriot High schools.An important percentage constitute those that followed certain cources in Greek or Cypriot High schools, and follow the graduates of Pedagogic Academies of Greece and Cyprus, graduates of other Superior and other Institution of Higher Education of Greece, as well as those that followed courses in Greek Universities for some time, without however being rendered as graduates.

On the contrary, in the Australian Elementary Public schools and Secondary schools, as in the Saturday schools of the Greek community,teach mostly qualified professors and schoolteachers of Greek origin, with proportionally Australian degrees, as well as detached schoolteachers and professors from the Greek Ministry of Education.Between 1991-1992, they existed in total 66 professors detached from the Greek Ministry of Education, that taught in schools of Australia and more specifically in the 4 larger Greek communities that we mentioned before.If we take into account that, according to the same facts of the Ministry of Education, in the same schools teach also 1.283 teachers with contracts , we see that the attendance of Greek detached teachers in the education of Greek children of Australia is objectively very small.Besides, the same fact constitutes ascertainment and intense complaint of almost all the Greek communities of Australia, which protest for lack of suitably and sufficiently educated instructive personnel, in all the ranks of education.

3.4 Modern Greek university studies

In the university level of education, and until 1970, was only offered a introductive annual course of Modern Greek studies in the University of New England, Armidale, New South Walles.This program became biennial in 1971, but could not attract a large number of students, because of the small population of there Greek community there.

In the University of Sydney, with financing by donations of Greek emigrants, it began to operate the Department of Modern Greek studies from 1971.In 1973 it was organised a special intensive department of Modern Greek study in the Adelaide College of Advanced Education, which mutated into the Department of Modern Greek Studies.In the University of Melbourne, the Department of Modern Greek studies accepted its first students in 1974.In 1975, the course of Modern Greek was imported in the Prahran College of Advanced Education, Victoria, while in 1977 was proclaimed a teaching position (lecturer). For one short interval (1978-1979) there was still one more teaching position(lecturer) of Modern Greek in the University of Western Australia.

In 1982, the three Universities of Melbourne (University of Melbourne, La Trobe University, Monash University) found the Honours School of Hellenic Studies.In 1984 operated the Theological Faculty of Apostle Andreas, that was attached in the University of Sydney in 1986.In 1985 began the teaching of Greek in the Footscray Institute of Technology, while in 1986 the course was brought also in the Phillip Institute.In 1988 was founded and operated the Chair of Modern Greek in the University Flinders.

In Australia operate, today, 18 Academic Departments having as an object the Modern Greek or Classical Greek studies.Complete list of names of these Departments and the studies they provide, with their addresses and the names of the responsible persons for the benefit of additional information is attached in Index B.