Serbian schools working on smooth inclusion of migrant children

April 29, 2018 5:30 PM

BELGRADE, April 26 (Xinhua) — Although the number of migrant and refugee children in Serbian schools slowly decreases, it is necessary to provide additional support to both children and teachers to ensure their smooth inclusion, Serbia’ education ministry and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said in a report presented here Thursday.
The report, “Monitoring the Inclusion and Education of Migrant and Refugee Children”, covers the period from October 2017 to February 2018, and shows that the number of school-age children (7-18 years) in accommodation centers decreased from 957 to 722, and the number of children included in the education system decreased from 527 to 415.
According to the report, the decreasing number of migrant or refugee children in the education system of Serbia is the result of the decreasing trend in the number of children staying in centers in Serbia.
“Primary-school-age children accounted for a significant majority of those included in the education system, and their number varied between 464 in October 2017 and 373 in February 2018,” the report read.
It pointed out the importance providing support to schools and teachers in order for them to overcome major challenges such are the inability to speak children’s mother tongue, unfamiliarity with culture and customs of their home countries, insufficient skills for working with children with traumatic experiences, and ambiguity about keeping teaching records.
“Schools and teachers argue that it is necessary to improve the following support systems to ensure smooth and adequate inclusion and education of children,” said the report, highlighting the need for teaching aids and manuals for working with migrant or refugee children, as well as staff training and mentoring support.
Almost 2 million people from Middle East and Africa have crossed Serbian territory before the closure of the so-called Balkan Route for migrants and refugees. Currently several thousand people are still accommodated in 18 centers in Serbia, most of them still hoping to reach Western Europe.


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