On 7th July 2019, a new government has been elected in Greece, for the forthcoming four years. The new Minister of Education as well as the new vice Minister of Migration Policy will be interviewed in order to select data about the new forthcoming education policies. Amongst the first announced structural changes are the transfer of the Autonomous Department of Coordination of Refugee Education, as well as of other Departments, at the General Secretariat of Primary, Secondary and Special Education, according to the Presidential Decree No 84 (17th July 2019).
Specifically, the Autonomous Department for the Coordination of Refugee Education had been established as an autonomous body within the Ministry of Education since August 2018. Now, its competences, jurisdictions responsibilities and personnel vacancies are transferred to the General Secretariat of Primary, Secondary and Special Education.
Greece, responding to the mass increase of refugees, asylum seekers and newly arrived migrants right after the refugee crisis of 2015, altered the regulations and guidelines on school placement and assessment of their prior educational experiences so as to protect and safeguard children’s universal right to education (Φ.6 / 1063/82763 / Δ1 / 23-05-2016 / Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs). They have published the following decisions and regulations which are mandatory, while leaving minimum to no limits on schools’ autonomy over the assessment process.
There is specific provision for the educational needs of refugee and asylum seekers’ children who live in RICs (Reception and Identification Centres) and RHCs (Reception and Hospitality Centres). The relevant educational policies are referred at the Common Ministerial Decree 139654/ΓΔ4 regarding the establishment and functioning of DYEP (Education Reception Structures for Refugees), as noted in the government gazette ΦΕΚ2985/Β΄/30-8- 2017. These procedures are common at national level and mandatory. There is no school autonomy, as these are central education policies. Guidelines at national level are provided before the beginning of each school year (Annual Ministry of Education circulars about pupil registration at Kindergarten and Primary Schools). Pupils with no prior education experience in the Greek state education system are normally placed at DYEP structures, unless such structures do not exist in their immediate location. In that case, pupils can register at a mainstream morning Greek State School and, if a sufficient number of newly arrived migrant students request it, the school can host a Reception Class for these students. However, the formation of a Reception Class requires the approval of the Teacher Assembly of the school.