Real costs are about 1.5 billion euros a year

The area in which Greeks appear to outdo their EU counterparts in expenditure is education, which, according to Finance Ministry statistics for the year 2002, comes to 382 million euros; and this number only concerns declared spending on private tuition centers (frontistiria) and foreign language schools. According to research conducted by ICAP, Greek families’ real spending on education is up to 1.5 billion euros. This means that the annual cost, according to the Finance Ministry’s figures, for a family to send one child to a frontistirio – a necessity if the child is to pass the university entrance exams – is approximately 905 euros, while the cost of sending a second child to a frontistirio is downright prohibitive. Costs are doubled if the child wants to learn a second foreign language, a «luxury» which in other EU states is provided free of charge. According to even the most conservative estimates, Greece appears to spend more on education – 2.4 percent of GDP – than any other EU country. In other European economies similar to that of Greece, these figures stand at 0.1 percent of GDP for Spain (according to Eurostat figures), 1.3 percent of GDP for Portugal and 1.4 percent of GDP for Ireland. The Germans and French pay 0.5 percent of GDP on education out of their own pockets.