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Greece to Begin Schooling Migrant Children

FILE -- Children learn how to describe parts of the human body during English class at a makeshift camp of migrants and refugees at the northern Greek border point of Idomeni, Greece, Monday, May 2, 2016. Starting Monday, Greece will begin schooling about 1,500 migrant children.

Children of migrants and refugees stranded in Greece will begin attending Greek schools next week.

Greek Education Minister Nikos Filis said Wednesday that 1,500 children would be taught at 20 public schools or in classrooms at six refugee camps starting Monday.

“Schooling refugee children falls under Greece’s international obligations,” Filis told a news conference.

After two schools in northern Greece last month expressed opposition to the project, officials said only vaccinated refugee children would be allowed to participate.

But Filis described the objections as marginal.

“As long as they are in this country, refugee children will play with Greek children,” he said. “Regardless of the circumstances any child is in, we are obliged to look after them and provide them with an education. It’s a legal obligation and a moral obligation.”

More than 60,000 refugees and migrants are in Greece after several European states further north shut their borders earlier this year.