"Majida" and her brother "Ziyat" from Iraq live in the camp of Vial on Chios island since May 2017. They do not go to school, but study English and Greek in courses offered by a nongovernmental group. Photo Credit: Simon Rau for Human Rights Watch 2017

Greece: No School for Many Asylum-Seeking Kids

Human Rights Watch
28 September, 2017

Repressive European policies, such as the creation of hotspots, are breeding long-lasting human rights violations and preventing the implementation of forward-looking integration policies which would benefit the migrants, the host country, and Europe as a whole over the long term.

“Greece will extend a program that provides special Greek classes and integration support for non-native speaking pupils to asylum-seeking children on the islands. 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.

“Greece’s Education Ministry has crucial work ahead as it attempts to improve the country’s dismal record of denying access to school to children seeking asylum on the islands,” said Simon Rau, Mercator fellow at Human Rights Watch. “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.”

Under Greek law, all asylum-seeking children in the country have the right to enroll in public schools. However, during the 2016-2017 school year, only 40 asylum-seeking children on the island of Lesbos could enroll in school, while about 530 asylum-seeking children of school age – ages 6 to 17 – were on the island as of August 29, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) officials on the island.”

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