Were There Schools in Ancient Greece?

In ancient Greece, education played a vital role in society. But were there schools in ancient Greece?

The answer is yes and no. Let’s explore further.

Education in Ancient Greece

Education in ancient Greece was not compulsory like it is today. Instead, it was only available to certain people such as the wealthy and aristocratic families. Education typically began at home with parents teaching their children basic skills such as reading, writing, and arithmetic.

The Role of Teachers

As education became more advanced, teachers began to play a more significant role in society. They were highly respected and often held positions of power. However, these teachers did not work in schools as we know them today.


One type of educational institution that did exist in ancient Greece was the gymnasium. These were open-air facilities where young men would gather to exercise and receive education from various teachers.


Sophists were another type of teacher who traveled from city to city offering their services to those who could afford it. These teachers focused on rhetoric, philosophy, and public speaking.

Athenian Schools

In Athens, the most famous school was the Academy founded by Plato in 387 BC. This school was an exception to the norm as it provided education for free and was open to all citizens regardless of their social status.


While there were no formal schools as we know them today in ancient Greece, education played a significant role in society. The wealthy had access to private tutors or could attend gymnasiums or hire sophists for their children’s education.

However, the majority of people did not have access to formal education. The establishment of the Academy by Plato marked a turning point where education became more accessible to all citizens regardless of social status.