During its two days’ visit to the Refugee Reception Center of Samos island, the Executive board of the Greek Primary Teachers’ Federation DOE observed utterly disappointing, unacceptable and miserable conditions.
The camp with a capacity to accommodate hardly 800 refugees, counts now at least 3.805 residents, according to official sources. A figure, however, which is very much disputed by other reliable sources that estimate it close to six thousand. There are in total 813 children, 75% of which are aged less than 12 years old.
The board took note that the kindergarten, welcoming 25 children in a class, operates under indescribable conditions, noticeably lacking even a toilet, and without any basic teaching material, thanks to the great efforts of the staff.
Meetings and school visits were held with the local Education Trade Unions, especially in those schools having reception classes for refugee children. The board discussed with teachers the severe everyday problems, both of staff and students, as well as unfortunate developments relating to locals’ reaction which sometimes refrained from sending their children to school because of the presence of refugee children. Productive meetings were also held with parents and other institutions. These meetings brought to light, once more, the inefficacy of the government to find solutions to the whole tragic situation regarding health, social and educational issues.
The board strongly condemned any aggressive behavior targeting either teachers or parents that want to defend the educational rights of all children, Greek or refugee ones.
This visit proved once again the already known and widely recognized crucial role of the teachers who, with an incredible zeal and self-denial and without real support, undeniably create through their work “an oasis in the turmoil”.