By Abigaile Kootsillas, 7/25/17
(Athens, Greece) — Greece’s far right-wing party, the Golden Dawn, is promising the possibility of protests if the government moves forward with plans to fully integrate refugee students with Greek students in the school system.
Illias Kasidiaris, spokesperson for Golden Dawn, says that integrated schools will cause a very serious educational problem.
“Kids don’t know the Greek language. How can they learn?” said Kasidiaris.
Through the 2016-2017 school year the Greek government followed an intermediary plan in which migrant children attended Greek schools in the hours after native Greek students left for the day. Those on remote refugee camps were bussed to the schools on vehicles operated by the UN division International office of Migration (IOM).
However, starting in September 2017 the government reportedly plans to start mainstreaming a portion of migrant children from refugee camps and from apartments near public schools. The Ministry of Education plan recommends integrating a certain portion of non-Greek speaking students into traditional Greek-speaking classrooms.
Kasidiaris said that there was no problem with the after-hours program. The party was even in support of professors going to the refugee camps and teaching lessons. Although, they have expressed their concern when it comes to combining the students.
The party thought that professors going to the camps to teach would be beneficial to both Greek and refugee students. This way, there would be no language barrier and students could learn effectively and it would be easier on the children.
But many are concerned about the drop in quality of education for Greek children if refugee children try to learn without language skills and Kasidiaris says there is a strong possibility of protests among those in his party trying to make that point. “We have the right to do it,” he said.
Kasidiaris claims their protest will be non-violent. His words come just six months after another Golden Dawn parliament member and a group of supporters stormed an elementary school in the Perama area of Athens, threatening staff with words and fists because classes werebeing offered to refugee children from a nearby camp.
Kasidiars claims these were just angry residents and not a sanctioned Golden Dawn activity.