During the 60's the Greek economy was developing very fast. The rapid industrialization led to the increasing demand for specialized staff for posts requiring both thorough theoretical knowledge and skills.
The Centers for Higher Technical Education (known as KATE) were founded in 1970 in order to provide post-secondary non-university education, which would contribute to the advancement of the Greek economy covering study fields related to industry, agriculture, enterprises and health services.
The first five KATE's operated in February 1974 in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patra, Larissa and Heraklion totaling 2.569 students.
The fact that they were founded during dictatorship and decision-making processes regarding their goals were controlled by the International Bank and U.S.A. Officials had a negative impact on the Greek society.
After democracy had been reestablished KATE's were named into Centers for Higher Technical - Vocational Education (known as KATEE's). Their founding law (Law 576/1977), which was issued by a democratically elected government, placed them in tertiary education and attempted to have them accepted by the public opinion. In 1978 there were eight KATEE's in Greece. However according to Law 576/1977 KATEE's were not self-governed institutions and their teaching staff qualifications did not meet the necessary standards required by the Greek universities.
There should have been a thorough survey of the Greek market and the needs of the Greek society before KATEE's were founded. Therefore they failed to improve the quality of the education provided and to promote the professional rights of their graduates. Decision-making procedures regarding both their curricula and their teaching staff assessment were politically driven so KATEE's quickly fell into dismay.
In 1981 PASOK, which had always expressed disapproval of the institution of KATEE's, became the first socialist party to govern the Greek state.
The Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs conducted various surveys in order to gather information regarding the existing situation in Greece and in other European Economic Community (E.E.C.) countries because by that time Greece had become a full member of the E.E.C.
At the same time great changes as regards technological education were taking place in several European countries. Polytechnics were established in the United Kingdom, Fachhochschulen were founded in Germany, Institutes Universitaire de Technologie made their debut in France.
The results of the surveys made it clear that KATEE's had to be abolished because they could not correspond to the requirements of the Greek economic fields. They had to be replaced by new technology oriented institutions which would provide high quality education. The Greek society considered KATEE's as a stepping stone to Universities. This phenomenon had to be stopped.
In 1983 Technological Educational Institutions were established. Τ.E.I.'s are legal entities, which were founded in 1983 within the framework of Law 1404/1983 in order to bridge the gap between the theoretical knowledge and background provided by the Greek universities and the demand for highly trained staff who could meet the challenges of the Greek market in technology related fields.
They are self-governed, multi-disciplinary, technology-oriented institutions funded by the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs and according to Law 3549/2007 TEI' s are equal to the Greek universities.