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.