The Greek Ministry of Education and UNICEF are working together to help refugee children stranded in Greece complete their education.
UNICEF Central and Eastern Europe Regional Director Marie-Pierre Poirier ended her four-day visit to Greece on Saturday. She came to study the ongoing refugee and migrant crisis in Europe and ways of alleviating its impact on children. Meeting with Greek education officials she presented two pylons in which to address the education needs of asylum-seekers children.
The first stage of the education program concerns the immediate intervention at reception centers, such as the one at Skaramanga. The Ministry of Education has already started charting the number of children, their ages and their education needs. Emphasis is to placed on creating child-friendly areas that allow children to enjoy entertaining activities so that children can feel a sense of normalcy and be children again rather than refugees.
At a second level, adolescence needs to be addressed with new education programs and programs of career orientation. At this stage, children need to learn life skills, gain cultural values, learn about relationships between genders and other matters that are part and parcel of ordinary life in Greece.
Younger-aged children will take part in a program to learn their mother tongue and English so that they are ready to adapt to their new life once they settle in a host country. Poirier also expressed concern regarding unaccompanied minors that need to be aided by Greek institutions with collaboration between prosecutors and social workers. The goal is to place these children in foster care and ultimately unite them with their families.