Special School Department for Children of Asylum Seekers Proposed Skip to content

Special School Department for Children of Asylum Seekers Proposed

A report by a city committee on the reception and integration of children of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers proposes that a special support department be created in Vogasel near Vogaskóli school in Reykjavík. At the suggestion of the committee, children coming from other countries would be schooled for no more than 9 months at the department, before going to school in their own districts, Vísir reports.

This special department would be created for children ages 8 to 15 that require special assistance in starting studies in one of Iceland’s elementary schools. It would be implemented to especially meet the demands of children of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

Helgi Grímsson, director of Reykjavík city’s Department of Education and Youth, says this would mean better support and easier access to professionals for these children and their families.

“It is of the utmost importance that we provide this group with the nourishment and shelter they need. If we immediately scatter this group amongst different schools, it’s possible we wouldn’t be able to provide them with the professional help they require,” Helgi says.

Helga Helgadóttir, director of special education at Vogaskóli school is not thrilled with the committee’s proposal. She says it is counter to how Vogaskóli works and as far as she’s concerned it’s not in compliance with elementary school laws nor The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Iceland’s elementary school laws stipulate that no student should be discriminated against due to their country of origin, and that children have the inalienable right to study in the country’s schools without discrimination.

Asked whether their proposals don’t run the risk of discrimination against children of immigrants, refugees or asylum seekers, Helgi says that these are children that do need special attention in order to be able to thrive in Iceland’s school system and that study without discrimination is something Reykjavík city takes very seriously. He further states that they try to meet the needs of every child, something they are trying to do with this new proposal.

As Iceland Review previously reported, asylum seekers protested in downtown Reykjavík yesterday, calling for fair treatment and the abolition of the European Union’s Dublin Regulation amongst other things.

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