by Maria Spiliopoulou
ATHENS, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- Greece's Education Ministry has prepared a plan to teach thousands of refugee children currently living in the country, starting this September, Greek national news agency AMNA reported on Sunday.
Under the plan, which has the support of UNICEF and other international organizations, the children will either attend classes within reception centers or will be provided daily bus transportation to nearby public schools. School year opens on September 12 in Greece this year.
The refugee children will learn their mother tongues, English and some basic Greek so that they can integrate in the host country. Pilot education programs have been running in refugee camps in recent months.
According to UNICEF estimates, some 22,000 children are among the 57,000 migrants and refugees currently trapped in Greece.
Greek Education Ministry officials estimate that 18,000 of these minors are school-age children.
According to a recent study by the NGO "Save the Children," refugee children have been out of school for an average of a year and a half.
In debt-laden Greece, the economic cost of their education is a major challenge. According to Education ministry sources, the country has already secured 7 million euros (7.83 million U.S. dollars) from European funds for the construction of the necessary facilities, the training of teachers and books.
An extra 3 millions euros will be allocated by the International Organization of Migration by year end for the students' transportation and other needs.