A transportation scheme organized by the EU and the UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM) is enabling young refugees to attend classes in 93 schools across mainland Greece. As a result, about 2,500 children (which equates to 80% of those living in the refugee camps) have started formal education in Greek schools. The kids are taken by bus to the selected schools where they study Greek, English, maths, information technology and art.
Prior to the launch of this programme, only non-formal education was available for young refugees inside the camps. The IOM project coordinator Iannis Baveas points out the essence of this initiative: “Every kid has the right to go to school, and education is not a privilege, it’s a basic human right.” Considering that many of the children had never been to school in their home countries, and didn’t even know the basics of how to behave inside a classroom, they are integrating well and clearly enjoying learning.
Whilst the programme is undoubtedly a big success, it is only a temporary measure as the camps are not meant to last forever. Families will eventually move into accommodations paid for by the EU. The children will then be able to attend classes at ordinary public schools alongside Greek pupils. It is hoped that this programme will prepare the young refugees to better integrate into the national education system when the time comes.