By Vasiliki Mitsiniotou
ATHENS (AA) – Child refugees stranded in Greece have been out of school for an average of 18 months, according to a new Save the Children report released on Monday.
The study conducted by the aid organization in northern Greece collected information on around 130 children between the ages of 6 to 17 years old.
Findings show that Syrian child refugees have been out of school for an average of 25.8 months, while Afghan child refugees spent an average of 10.7 months out of the classroom.
More than three-quarters of the refugee children interviewed said going to school was one of their top priorities. However, more than one in five have not even begun their education.
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International, said: “Of the 7.3 million child refugees in the world today, half don’t have access to education, and the international community will struggle for decades to reverse the effects of this lack of investment, which is why we are demanding that no refugee child is out of education for more than a month.”
“The EU needs to recognize education as a key need for children stranded in Greece and the Balkans and provide more support to the governments to set up temporary learning facilities in the camps and long-term education solutions,” she added.
Save the Children has been providing unofficial lessons plus English and Greek classes for refugees in Greece.
As the inaugural World Humanitarian Summit gets underway in Istanbul with a focus on refugee education, the organization puts forth four areas of commitment for forcibly displaced children: guarantee an education for every displaced child; ensure protection for all displaced children; offer long-term solutions to protracted displacement; uphold existing rules and standards.
"In Greece we are facing two major crises simultaneously: the economic and refugee crisis," the country’s prime minister, Alexis Tsipras said from Istanbul on Monday.
The discussion underway at the Istanbul summit was very important in order to "enrich our reactions to the crisis that lies behind all the rest: the humanitarian crisis," he added.