The 1st EK of Kalamaria is situated in Kalamaria, a suburb on the east of Thessaloniki. Kalamaria is an urban area near the sea, with a population of 110.000 people, 90% of which are refugees from the former Minor Asia and Eastern Romylia. It is a laboratory center which supports one of the biggest Vocational Schools of Greece, the 1st EPAL of Kalamaria and it is co-housed with it in a high quality bioclimatic building which is prototype for school buildings across the country. Our centre has 21 laboratories in order to meet the needs of the 1st EPAL of Kalamaria which has 11 sections: 1. Mechanical, 2. Engineering, 3. Automotive Engineering, 4. Electrical, 5. Electronics, 6. Computer Science (Informatics), 7. Economy and Administration, 8. Tourism 9. Agriculture and Food, 10. Air Conditioning, 11. Pluming and Heating.

At the moment our centre has 50 teachers that teach laboratory courses and 760 students aged between 15 to 19 years old.

The 1st EPAL of Kalamaria attracts students from Kalamaria and the eastern outskirts. Many of them are of Albanian or Russian origin and some of them are Roma. These are the students who also attend our laboratory courses.

Main objective of the education we offer is our students to become professionals, so they can meet the demands of the labour market. This increases our responsibility to provide them with links and experience in the professional field. We aim to equip students with all the necessary skills to become competent and competitive professionals and concerned European citizens.

However, due to their great number, there is a big diversity among the pupils’ socio-economic background, family conditions and personal problems.

13% of the students are diagnosed with dyslexia and other special educational needs. A small percentage of students come from surrogate families and orphanages and a considerable number of students show challenging behaviours towards their co students and teachers.

In our centre belong students that choose vocational education and in most of the cases, students make this choice because they feel unable to pursuit higher educational studies, due to the low school performance they demonstrate. This has as a result to encounter great differences on the cognitive level of the students within our laboratories and a great variety of educational needs to be met by our teachers.

These challenging factors lead to a significant percentage of early school dropouts each year.