Around 7,000 refugee children to attend school in Greece this year: ministry

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-19 01:03:22|Editor: Song Lifang
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ATHENS, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- Around 7,000 refugee and migrant children aged 6 to 16 years old will be attending public schools and reception facilities for refugee education (RFRE) in Greece, the Education Ministry announced on Wednesday as part of this year's educational program.

The Greek government introduced last year a plan to give schooling to thousands of refugee children who have been left stranded in Greece after the closure of the borders along the Western Balkan route in February 2016.

According to the ministry, this year a total of 2,439 children living with their families in apartments and hotels rented for asylum seekers will be attending morning classes and a total of 2,360 that currently live in refugee camps will attend afternoon classes in reception facilities for refugee education.

George Angelopoulos, the General Secretary of the Greek Education Ministry, said during a press conference that around 2,000 children will register the next 15 days, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.

It is expected that a total of 1,000 public schools across Greece will participate in the educational program for refugee and migrant children. In addition, 30 kindergartens will be added to the program by next month.

A year after the implementation of the refugee schooling program, the Education Ministry said that a total of 5,000 refugee and migrant children participated in the project.

According to figures, that number reflects the 40 percent of the refugee children population that was recorded last year in Greece.

With most of them never having attended school or been out of education for more than two years the aim was to help refugee children integrate into the local society.

"For the first year of its implementation, the percentage of the participation is quite successful," Angelopoulos told reporters.

Despite problems regarding shortages of teachers in schools, Angelopoulos stressed that the program has received "a very positive response from the educational community".