Parents and students of Lesvos take to the streets to protest about the recent admission of immigrant students, some aged over 25 years old, to the local Hippios high school.
The program falls under the existing ZEP (Zones of Educational Priority) study regime, which is part of a wider European program that has been designed to help immigrant students through educational integration. Many parents and guardians in the school community have voiced their outrage at not being notified about this new change by the principal, who had made arrangements discreetly with the North Aegean Regional Education Directorate.
Since the influx of refugees in 2015, a major challenge faced by the Greek government was to consider the education of young immigrants who were to remain in the country. The result was the establishment of a special education program, the “Reception/ Preparatory Classes for the Education of Refugees” (DYEP). Since its inception in 2016, a main focus of the program has been to integrate the refugee children into the Greek education system. This in turn would allow them to gradually join classes within the mainstream school system. Sources from the European Social Policy Network state that the funding for this education program was to come from the European Asylum, Immigration and Integration fund (AMIF) as well as other humanitarian and government bodies. While most DYEP classes run at existing schools in the afternoon, a portion of students have been given permission to attend receptions in the morning, which are formally run as part of the Greek education system, in public schools that are characterised as part of the ‘ZEP’ areas.
As a result of the introduction of this new program into the Hippios High School, parents are threatening that their children will continue to remain absent from class, should the immigrant students remain on site.