NEWS

Threshold in schools

The Education Ministry is planning to transfer children of immigrants and of repatriated Greeks to schools further away from their homes so that they will not make up more than 40 percent of pupils in their class. This measure will apply from the new academic year in September and, officials say, will be carried out with great care so as not to disturb the education and integration of children whose parents have chosen to live in Greece. At the same time, special classes will be set up at another 400 schools beside the multicultural ones already applying a pilot program to help students integrate into the school system, Stella Priovolou, special secretary for the Education Ministry’s multicultural education department, told Kathimerini. Teachers will undergo special training, she said. The effort will focus on Athens, where each year the number of students belonging to immigrant families increases, reaching 26 percent in the last academic year. Athens Municipality says that out of a total of 67,303 pupils in nursery, primary and secondary schools, senior high and technical colleges, 17,455 were children of immigrant families. In 1999-2000 they made up 18.57 percent, in 2000-2001 they made up 20.05 percent and in 2001-2002 they made up 22.85 percent. Most of these students are in primary school (where they constitute 30.87 percent of the total), followed by high school (28.27 percent) and nursery schools (26.96 percent). The number of these students in technical colleges (TEE) comes to 21.9 percent of the total, while fewer study at senior high (11.18 percent). The number of these children dropping out after high school has fallen. As most foreign-born families live in central Athens, the greatest concentration of their children was in Kypseli’s 6th Department primary schools (42.99 percent). In the other schools in the same district the figure came to 36.31 percent of the total. In Omonia the number was 30.65 percent, whereas Ano Patissia and Lambrini had the lowest percentage, at 19.33 percent. Deputy Mayor Iro Valsamaki-Ralli said that the highest percentage (76.2 percent) was at the 53rd nursery school in the 3rd Department (which includes Gazi, Petralona and Thiseion), followed by the 22nd Primary School (75.9 percent) and 2nd High School (74.4 percent), both in Kypseli.