Enroll now: School starts soon in Greece

The Greek school year starts September 11!

Greece will once again offer an afternoon school program to children who live in official camps on the mainland. (Read more here.)

But this year, Greece is also enhancing an existing program that helps refugee children study alongside Greek children in public schools.

The "Zone of Educational Priorities" program aims to mainly serve children living outside official camps this year, but children living in camps are also able to attend.

Photo: VICE Greece

The new program is for children who:

  • Are 6 to 15 years old
  • Aren't yet fluent in Greek
  • Are pre-registered with the Asylum Service

The Zone of Educational Priorities program is free, and your children's books are provided by the school.

Your children can attend even if you are waiting for Relocation or Family Reunification to another country — enrolling won't affect if and when you can leave Greece.

About the Zone of Educational Priorities program

Through the Zone of Educational Priorities program, refugee children can get the support they need to attend Greek public school.

  • Children who speak little or no Greek will attend special classes that focus on Greek language skills. Children in these classes will also study English, math, science and other subjects alongside Greek students.

  • Children who speak some Greek will attend regular classes alongside Greek students, but they will also get help from specialized teachers.

Your children will take a Greek test that determines which class they join.

Photo: K Hashem/ The IRC

Will my children be welcome?

Refugee children, like all children, are welcomed in Greek schools.

The Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs, is planning Zone of Educational Priorities classes at around 700 schools.

If you have any problems registering your kids in school, you can send an email in your own language to eswg.greece@gmail.com.

Can my children access the Zone of Educational Priorities program?

First, choose the option that describes you:

I don't live in an official camp. I live in an apartment, hotel or another kind of accommodation.

I live in an official camp.


Your options for school in Greece


#####If you don't live in an official camp

In June, Greece asked refugee families to register for public school. If you have already registered at your nearest school, you should take your children there on September 11, the first day of school.

That day, a local priest will host a welcoming celebration at your school. Check with your school to learn what time to arrive.

All children will attend regular classes alongside Greek students until the Zone of Educational Priorities program begins, most likely in October.

When the program begins, your children will most likely stay at the same school. In some cases, your children will transfer to another school to join a Zone of Educational Priorities program class there.

How can I enroll my children?

If you haven't yet registered your children for school, it's not too late.

You can enroll at any time during the school year, but to enroll before school starts, you should go to the nearest school between September 1 and 8 and say you want to enroll.

Ask an NGO worker to help you.

If you're going to a school alone and you don't speak Greek or English, you can take along this letter (in Greek, English, Arabic, Farsi and Urdu). It asks the school to help you enroll your children.

Documents to bring:

Proof of vaccination. Find out how to get your kids vaccinated.

Proof of your address. Ask an NGO worker to give you a formal proof of address form, or message Refugee.Info on Facebook for help.

If you live in a private apartment, you can take an electricity bill as proof of address.

Your children’s Pre-Registration card, Full Registration card or residence permit. The school will make a copy.

During enrollment, your school will give you a form you must take to a public health center or clinic. A doctor will examine your child for free and give you a health certificate to bring back to your school.


Photo: Tyler Jump/ The IRC

If you live in an official camp

Islands

If you live in a camp on an island, Greece has not yet finalized plans for how your children will access schools with the Zone of Educational Priorities program.

Whether your children can attend the program this year likely will depend on which camp you live in.

We will update you when we have more information.

Mainland Greece

Parents living in official camps on the Greek mainland can register children ages 6 to 15 for afternoon reception classes that start in October.

The classes will be from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. in nearby public schools. Children will study Greek language, English, math, sports, arts and computers.

If your children speak some Greek, you can ask to enroll them in the Zone of Educational Priorities program if you live near a public school or can get transportation to one.

Some schools near camps will be hosting Zone of Educational Priorities programs. To enroll your children, follow the instructions here.

You can also ask your camp's Refugee Education Coordinator for more information. You should find your Refugee Education Coordinator in your camp in the second half of September.