Refugees still waiting for Greek courses, 15 months on

Refugees still waiting for Greek courses, 15 months on

More than a year after the then minister of migration policy Yiannis Mouzalas and Education Minister Costas Gavroglou heralded a program to teach Greek to adult refugees, courses have yet to start.

According to statements made in January 2018, a total of 5,000 people aged 16 up would be taught Greek through fast-track language courses, as well as the Principles of European Culture, so as “to ensure their better adjustment to Greek reality and European issues.”

The program was supposed to be implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), but was later passed onto the Education Ministry following demands from within the government that the initiative remain in the state’s hands, sources said. It has since stalled.

The biggest difficulty, reportedly, has been dealing with local reactions to such schemes. Instead, refugees are relying on NGOs that offer Greek language courses, but the demand is not being met.

Furthermore, refugees often live in hotels and accommodation that are far from urban centers where humanitarian organizations offer language courses.

After the delays, the program returned to IMO, which will implement it with the help of NGOs.

Sources from the Migration Ministry said the aim now is to start the courses in June, however this target is highly optimistic, considering that consultations with Brussels on the amount of funding Greece will secure and the number of beneficiaries are still undecided.

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