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Disabled Children Invisible in the Greek School System

Disabled KidsA Child’s right to education may be one of the most important constitutional mandates, but it does not apply to all the children of Greece. Children with disabilities are invisible entities within an educational system that denies even keeping records of them. Only 15% of disabled children are currently attending school in Greece.
The remaining 85%, approximately 170,000 children, live in exile from the educational community, an exile that will undoubtedly carry on throughout the rest of their lives, since it also makes them invisible to society. Greece, does not even have a national register to keep records of children with disabilities, therefore these numbers are a rough estimate is why this number is an estimate.
During the 2010-2011 school year, only 24,105 children with disabilities attended ordinary Greek schools, while 7,656 children attended special schools. This means that out of the 200,000 children with disabilities who are estimated to live in Greece, only 31,761 were able to attend school, the equivalent of 15%.
These shocking figures were revealed thanks to Pelagia Papanikolaou’s research. She is a candidate doctor in the Athens Law School Criminology Department. Her research was published by ActionAid, an international non-governmental organization whose primary aim is to work against poverty and injustice worldwide, which is organizing a new campaign to demand the immediate integration of disabled children in schools and a reform of the current Greek educational system, so that it will provide for all students.
ActionAid calls on the Greek Education Minister to take immediate steps to change this embarrassing situation. The first and most important measure they suggested was the creation of national records for children with disabilities and their educational needs, as well as the improvement of the almost nonexistent accessibility of students in schools. Furthermore, they asked for the continuous training of teachers, the institutionalization of a student participation process for children with disabilities and their parents in decisions that affect them and care for the stable funding of special education programs from the state budget.

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