On today’s World Teachers’ Day and a few weeks after the start of the new school year, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in Greece, reaffirms its commitment to collaborating with Greek teachers – the driving force in the educational journey – as well as with other actors and members of the educational community. UNHCR’s educational initiatives, awareness and training projects in Greece continue into the 2023-2024 school year, aiming to promote refugee inclusion, respect for human rights and diversity.
“It could be me- It could be you” awareness raising programme
For the past decade, UNHCR in Greece in collaboration with the Hellenic Theatre/ Drama &Education Network (TENet-Gr) have been implementing the “It could be me-It could be you” educational programme. As of 10 October, a fresh training cycle for teachers and educators begins. The entire cycle can span up to 170 hours, offering a blend of short and long-term seminars, designed to equip educators from various disciplines with the skills necessary for planning activities in relation to issues of forced displacement and human rights (see more here). At the same time, the “It could be me-It could be you” educational project continues to organize workshops and activities for students, activities for mixed groups with the participation of young refugees and children, interactive performances, Student Festivals and community activities. Utilizing performing arts tools and experiential activities, the programme’s goal is to support teachers and students to sustain an ongoing dialogue and nurture creativity within the school community on critical social issues.
Training programmes, school visits, educational material and student contests
UNHCR is also collaborating with the Department for the Coordination and Monitoring of Refugee Education under the Ministry of Education, Religious Affairs and Sports in the development of a specialized training programme to support the work of Refugee Education Coordinators (RECs). Furthermore, in cooperation with local Regional Directorates of Primary and Secondary Education and other education bodies, UNHCR is planning and implementing programmes for teachers and education officials, including informative school visits and networking activities.
To support teachers in their work, UNHCR also provides educational material in printed and electronic form for use within the classroom. These materials introduce the topic of refugees through comprehensible experiential activities. Last but not least, with the aim of fostering active exchange of opinions and mobilizing students on refugee-related issues, UNHCR, in collaboration with several institutions and associations, has been organizing a National Annual Student Contest since 1994.
Note for editors
World Teachers’ Day is an occasion to pay tribute to teachers and acknowledge the power they have to transform education and the lives of children. This year’s theme “The teachers we need for the education we want: The global imperative to reverse the teacher shortage” is an opportunity to reflect on the support that the teaching profession needs worldwide. Especially for refugee students, the role of teachers is a catalyst, as they facilitate the children’s return to a context of normalcy. They create safe spaces for coexistence and learning while ensuring their smooth integration into the community. During the 2022-2023 school year, acknowledging the valuable role of the teachers and the need to support their work, UNHCR and TENet-Gr organized through the “It could be me – It could be you” educational programme, 80 training seminars for around 900 teachers, as well as activities with the participation of 3,000 students. Moreover, UNHCR staff organized and implemented informative visits and activities in schools, involving more than 2,300 students and 200 teachers and education officials.