Education for refugee children starts in Greece

EPA/ALEXANDROS BELTES

Children refugees, mostly from Syria and Afghanistan, who live at the Elaiona and Schistos reception facilities are guided on the ancient Acropolis Hill in Athens, Greece, 09 May 2016, by Greek Culture Minister Aristidis Baltas, in a gesture to mark Europe Day.

Education for refugee children starts in Greece


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ATHENS (AP) _ Greece’s education minister says a program to provide schooling for refugee children will start Monday and will include those whose families are due to be deported under an agreement between Turkey and the European Union.

Minister Nikos Filis said Wednesday that the EU-funded initiative would start at six schools in Athens and three other towns, before being expanded to the rest of the country through October. Classes will take place at state schools in the afternoon, he said.

More than 60,000 refugees are stranded in Greece due to European border closures, including some 10,000 confined to islands facing the Turkish coast.

Parent associations at several schools around Greece, as well as the country’s extreme right Golden Dawn party, have expressed objections to the refugee integration plan.

But Filis described the objections as “marginal.”

“As long as they are in this country, refugee children will play with Greek children,” he said. “Regardless of the circumstances any child is in, we are obliged to look after them and provide them with an education. It’s a legal obligation and a moral obligation.”

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