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Greece: Many asylum seeking children did not go back to school now

Greek children went back to school on 11 September 2017. However, hundreds of asylum-seeking children who are prevented from leaving the islands and waiting to be returned to Turkey as part of the EU-Turkey deal remained out of school.

Greece will extend a program that provides special Greek classes and integration support to non-native speaking pupils to asylum-seeking children. But this program excludes children in the so-called refugee hotspots and other reception facilities who cannot obtain the proof of address required to enroll in school. To reach children in these facilities, the Education Ministry recently announced it would open afternoon classes at public schools on the islands. The new integration program and the afternoon classes will start in mid-October but both exclude children over 15.

Greece’s Education Ministry should move quickly to implement positive new plans for the education of asylum-seeking children on the Aegean islands and make schools accessible to all of them, Human Rights Watch said today. “Children who have fled hellish conditions in search of safety in Europe need the support and hope a classroom provides and cannot wait until much of the school year has passed, it adds.” Read more

The delay in providing vaccines to asylum seeker children also poses problems because vaccination is required for school enrolment.