18000 refugee children to attend school in the new school year

18000 refugee children to attend school in the new school year

Athens, August 29, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs is conducting a “race”, not only for the smooth start of the school year on September 12, but also for the launch of the education program for the children of refugees in the country.

According to sources in the ministry, it is estimated that by the end of September the necessary decrees will have been issued, which will define in detail how to implement the program that has been prepared since the end of May.

Indeed, the first decree will be issued immediately after the passage of the bill for the Greek language education, on August 31, the bill, which includes a provision that gives the education minister the power to issue decrees concerning the education of refugees.

With this decision, among other things, the role of the Education Hospitality Center Coordinator and his responsibilities will be defined, and will include a special invitation to teachers, mostly philologists and teachers for positions that concern the teaching of Greek as a foreign language.

The number of available teachers with appropriate qualifications is estimated at 250 among about 90,000 who have applied for alternates.

However, the ministry estimated that it will be difficult to find all 250 within the total 20,800 deputies recruited this year (as they will have few points due to lack of relative prior experience), and so a specific call will be adressed for the specific qualifications.

Moreover, according to the same sources, for teaching the mother tongue, the number of available teachers “are not suficient to meet the needs”, and so, the Ministry has already addressed the NGOs for assistance and providing of training.

In the second year, close on September 20, is expected a second ministerial decision, which will define the detailed timetable to be applied in host structures.

“Key”, however, in the implementation of the whole program is the financing.

So far, EUR 7 million of the NSRF have been “unblocked”, particularly those relating to the construction costs of reception facilities, the training of education coordinators and teachers, and textbooks.

In addition, EUR 2.8 million have been secured (from a total of EUR 9.5 millions in a two-year horizon), through the International Organization for Migration (IOM), until December 2016, for the movement of students and the cleaning of schools.

With regard to the number of potential students-refugees who are currently in the country, the ministry estimated that about 9,000 students who have been registered through subscriptions for asylum, are half of the total, which means that the ministry program moves for the preparation of schools and camps, estimating approximately 18,000 refugee-students.