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Children from 118 countries study in Greece

24 April 2010 / 12:04:11  GRReporter
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Most numerous in the Greek schools are young students from Albania (71 419) the Bulgarians are 4247 and one representative have the Bermuda, Bosnia and Madagascar, which puts new challenges and the start of the first bilingual schools in front of the Ministry of Education.  

The Albanians, Indians, Bulgarians, Romanians are studying in primary schools all across the country along with the English, French, Swiss, Somali, Russian, Korean and Turkish children. A sea of thousands of children who are arranging the mosaic of cultures in a country with no facilities to accept and support them in their attempt to learn Greek, to cope with the lessons, but also to preserve their own culture and language.

Children from 118 different nationalities attend the first classes of the Greek schools, as shown by data from the Ministry of Education, which was published by Vima newspaper. "Let us not deceive ourselves. There is no policy of integration of foreigners in the educational program and no support to maintain their cultural identity in Greece" recognizes an employee of the ministry. "To date, none of the policies announced that will be applied in this direction has not been put into practice. Thus, even though the children come to school to work on and participate, they often find themselves on the periphery of the educational process. "

"We hope that with the support of European funds which will be granted for educational integration of foreigners we will be able to solve a part of the problem," says the director of elementary education at the Ministry Kostas Papahristos. “Most children were born in Greece. Our goal is for them to learn Greek, but not to be detached from their roots. We have for example Albanians, who do not speak Albanian. In their country they ridicule them and call them Greeks, but here they call them Albanians”.

In Greece, most students are from Albania, there is only one student from Ivory Coast, Bermuda, Bosnia, Capo Verde, Zaire, Iceland, Colombia, Colombo, Kurdistan, Liberia, Madagascar, Malaziya, Montenegro, Bahamas, Burundi, Uruguay, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Jakarta, Tonga and Turkmenistan. All over Greece there are two students in each school from, Japan, Guinea, Zimbabwe, Mexico, South Korea, but most remarkable is that students from Cyprus are only 26 in number.

"Now there is no neighborhood in Athens, in which there are no foreigners studying - some have grown up here and speak Greek, but others do not speak at all. For them nothing is provided by law. Chinese, Afghans, Pakistani and Indians come to school to learn. In the 87th elementary school in the district of Votanikos 85 percent of children are Muslim. I think it is necessary to act boldly on behalf of politicians, and teachers to be constantly trained” says school counselor Haris Papadopoulos.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Education is working on a pilot project for the launch of bilingual schools. Initially they will be found in areas where there are many immigrants, so as to overcome problems related to integration of students in the Greek educational system. According to sources from the ministry students at those schools which are more numerous groups of any nationality will be able to learn their mother tongue in ¼ of the classes.

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