The right to education constitutes a fundamental human right. Every child, particularly asylum seekers’ children, have the right to be educated, according to European and National Law. Facilitating access to education of all underage refugees living in the country hosting facilities is a key duty and recently a Greek State’s political decision. More specifically, in August 2018, according to the legislative decision made by the Greek Minister of Education, Research and Religious Affairs (Government Gazette issue no. 3580), Host Structures for Refugee Education (namely DYEP) have been established, i.e. school units within which the Host Structures for Refugee Education will operate every school year.
The proposed project will assist teachers in secondary education to become knowledgeable and informed EU citizens in view of their responsibility to educate refugees as European citizens. The initiative is in tandem with the expressed objectives of the Research Center for Economic Policy, Governance and Development (EKOPDA) of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (ETHNIKO KAI KAPODISTRIAKO PANEPISTIMIO ATHINON) and addresses the visible and pressing need of the development of learning content for European integration specifically addressed to teachers of refugees in secondary education.
The proposed project is formulated in a political environment where, on the one hand, conservative sections of society and organizations have already announced their reaction to the integration of refugee pupils in schools, while on the other hand, mainly trade union bodies, demanded the immediate unconditional integration of all children into schools. It builds on the experience that in Greece there is a lack of sufficient resources, lack of professional development for school staff, lack of specialised second language and language support to teachers, as well as absence of coordination and cooperation with other sectors and political-administrative levels in society.
The main objective of the proposed project is to demonstrate and make use of a strategic integration approach, which will also include non-formal education, sport, creative activities and inclusion in youth organizations, together with the active engagement of parents, particularly mothers. The proposed project shows that we need a comprehensive framework and not fragmented local projects. Professional development of teachers in the areas of education of newly-arrived refugees, intercultural pedagogy and multicultural classroom management are the main targets of the project.
Therefore, the scope of the proposed project will be wide, as it will be organised all over Greece, in Athens and in the Greek periphery, including the Eastern Aegean islands. At the same time, it will be coherent as the number of attendants will be up to 50 participants, in order to better achieve interactivity. In this way, it is systematic and scientifically sound, offering the diverse audience a more comprehensive and updated account of the issues concerning European integration, education, cultural diversity, sustainability and social cohesion.
The means used to deliver the project will be innovative and diverse, expanding the reach of the project to a wide audience. While lectures before audience and a small number of tutorials remain the main modes of facilitating learning and instruction, the use of ICTs in instruction and tutoring will enhance learning opportunities of the teachers and reaffirm the innovative and avant-garde character of the proposed project.
The establishment of cooperation schemes between the Faculty of Political Science and Public Administration and the Faculty of Philosophy, Pedagogy and Psychology, both at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, will bring expertise and added value to the project.
The proposed project is an inter-disciplinary project on European integration, addressing servicing refugees’ teachers in secondary education who do not automatically come into contact with European integration studies, while much is expected from them in the context of the successful integration of newly-arrived refugees into education and training.