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"The Program for the Education of Minority Children in Thrace 2010-2013" constitutes the fourth phase of an integral endeavor which begun in 1997. In its previous phases its title was “Program for the Education of Muslim Children” (PEM).
The first phase, (EPEAEK I, 1997-2000) was focused on primary education. Most Minority parents choose to send their children to ‘Minority primary schools’, i.e., schools only for Minority pupils and with a special status regulated by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and bilateral agreements between Greece and Turkey. The project's main goal was to improve the Greek-language program of these Minority schools. A large percentage of pupils of these schools, about 7,000 children between the ages of 6 to 12, begin first grade with no knowledge of Greek at all. Before the Program began its systematic intervention to Minority education, Minority schools employed the educational materials used in all the other schools of the country and written for native Greek speakers. They were, therefore, totally inappropriate and of little use for children most of whom are native Turkish speakers. The Greek language (and other subjects) could not be taught effectively with these books to children who knew little Greek or none at all. Thus, the activities of this phase included:

  • The production of new textbooks and educational materials for the Greek-language program of Minority schools.
  • The training of Minority school teachers.
  • Research on the educational conditions of the Minority and the special characteristics of the field.
  • Actions involving the entire community (An open children’s workshop, entitled, ‘A time for us, a town for us all’, an international conference on bilingual and conflicting contexts, etc.)

In the second phase(EPEAEK II, 2002-2004), the Program: (a) Continued the work at Minority primary schools through

  • The training of teachers
  • The monitoring of the usage of the new books, and
  • The production of additional educational support materials.
    (b) Gave emphasis on the secondary level of education. The main goal of PEM during this second phase was the gradual reduction of the considerably high Minority dropout rate in secondary education (which is compulsory). A study carried out during the second phase revealed that more than 50% of Minority pupils drop out of school without completing secondary school. The inadequate teaching of the Greek language at primary school, and the course curricula at secondary (middle) school designed for native speakers of Greek lead to a high percentage of failure, especially in the 7th grade (the first year of the secondary school). The Project's intervention on this level included:
    • The production of educational material for secondary schools for the teaching of Greek as a second language.
    • The training of educators, and
    • The organizing of additional classes at secondary schools, after the regular school hours (an extended-hours, or after-hours teaching program).
    (c) Engaged in new activities in order to involve the entire local society, through the setting up of two support centers (KESPEMs), equally staffed by Minority and Majority personnel, in the two largest cities of Thrace, Komotini and Xanthi. It organized an international symposium, open children’s workshops that mark the end of each school year which are joined by parents, teachers, and representatives of the community, holding press conferences, etc. 

    (d) Continued to conduct surveys and qualitative studies on language use and language assessment, Greek-language competence, dropout rates from the compulsory nine-year schooling period, and families’ attitudes towards secondary education.

    The Third Phase, 2005-2008, included the following:
    (a) Intervention at the level of primary education:

    • Producing a “Teacher’s Guide” and training materials for the teachers of Minority primary schools.
    • Training Minority school teachers on the use of the new books and other new materials for the classes of the Greek-language portion of the Minority school curriculum.
    • Organizing cycles of voluntary training for both Minority and public school teachers and also kindergarten teachers.
    • Supporting the work of Minority school teachers through systematic visits of trainers to schools.
    • Training teachers on the use of digital educational materials for Greek language learning.
    (b) Intervention at the level of secondary education:
    • Organizing additional classes after the regular school hours (an extended-hours, or after-hours teaching program) at secondary schools attended by Minority pupils.
    • Completing the educational materials for the secondary school courses of Greek Language, Literature, History, and Mathematics. (The production of these materials had begun in the second phase of the Program.)
    • Producing training material for secondary school teachers, regarding the principles and the teaching methodology of the new materials (for every course for which such teaching materials have been produced).
    • Organizing training cycles for secondary school teachers to familiarize them with the use of the new teaching materials.
    • Organizing training cycles for secondary school teachers who were to take part in the after-hours teaching program.
    • Training secondary teachers on inter-group relations and on communication management in the classroom.
    (c) Interventions outside school, at the local society level:
    • Reopening the two “Support Centers” (or community centers) of the Program for the Education of Muslim Children (KESPEMs) in Xanthi and in Komotini and further developing its capabilities and functions.
    • Opening six new, smaller (peripheral) “Support Centers” (KESPEMs) in the towns of Íasmos, Sápes and Orgáni of the Rhodope prefecture, and in the towns of Smínthi, Gláfki, and Ehínos of the Xanthi prefecture.
    • Setting up two mobile Support Centers (KESPEMs) (one based in Xanthi and the other in Komotini) with the objective to take the activities of KESPEMS to remote and isolated Minority villages.
    • The activities of KESPEMs were:
      • Greek language, mathematics, natural science, and computer classes for primary and secondary school pupils, in the evenings and in the weekends during the school year, and on workdays at regular hours during the summer. Providing books and other educational material to pupils. Lending books from the centers’ libraries to pupils.
      • Greek language classes to parents (particularly to mothers) of Minority pupils.
      • Organizing creative activities for pre-school age children.
      • Producing educational material (in digital format and distributed on CD ROMs) to be used in KESPEMs by children (age 8-12) in order for them to improve their competence in Greek.
      • Turkish language classes for Greek-speaking teachers.
      • Creative workshops for children and youngsters.
      • Supportive counseling and awareness-raising for parents and teachers regarding the prevention or handling of some special problems that affect pupils’ learning ability.
    • Supportive interventions in Minority villages and neighborhoods with severe economic and social problems, characterized by very high rates of school non-attendance and pupil dropout.

The forth phase 2010-2013, included the following:

(a) Intervention at the level of primary education:

  • Compensatory educational intervention at minority primary and at public minority schools for pupils and pre-school kids after the regular school hours and through summer
  • Intensive intervention in villages and neighborhoods, characterized by very high rates of school non-attendance and pupil dropout
  • Educational supportive material (computers, cameras, coloured printers), consumable material and extracurricular books for schools

(b) Intervention at the level of secondary education:

  • Additional classes after the regular school hours at secondary schools attended by Minority pupils
  • Supporting the students of the upper secondary education for their preparation for the National exams
  • Pilot run of the educational material that the Programme produced for the secondary school courses of Literature, History and Natural sciences at high schools of Thrace, attended by minority students

(c) Training Teachers

  • Training teachers-associates of the Project on the basis of the principles of intercultural education and the educational methodology of the material of the Project

(d) Intervention outside school, at the local society level

  • Supportive intervention in Minority villages and neighborhoods, characterized by very high rates of school non-attendance and pupil dropout
  • Reopening and further developing of the two "Support Centers" (or community centers) of the Programme (KESPEMs) in Xanthi and in Komotini and the smaller peripheral KESPEMs in the villages of Ehinos, Iasmos, Sapes and Organi.
  • Opening of new peripheral KESPEMs in the villages of Evlalo, Selero, Drosero (prefecture of Xanthi) and in Alexandroupoli
  • Reopening and further developing of four mobile Support Centers (KESPEMs) with the objective to provide educational material and organize supportive Greek classes to remote and minority villages

The activities of KESPEMs that have been continued are:

  • Computer-assisted Greek-language and Natural Sciences classes that emphasize on Greek terminology for primary school students
  • Pedagogical Activities for pre-school kids
  • Tutoring support for secondary and high school pupils in their school courses
  • Classes for re-sit pupils of secondary education through summer
  • Creative Youth Workshops
  • Greek for adults (chiefly mothers)
  • Turkish for teachers
  • Book- and material- lending to pupils and teachers
  • Educational visits
  • Events for children and adults of the minority and majority

New activities of KESPEMs

  • Career guidance and counselling groups for pupils of secondary education
  • Educational Programs on literature with diverse literary materials
  • Summer camps by the Creative Youth Workshops


  • Research on the dropouts of the students of the minority from high school
  • Research on the attendance of the Minority University students and the consequences after the appliance of the quota for admission to the University







Η πράξη συγχρηματοδοτείται από το Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινωνικό Ταμείο (ΕΚΤ) και από Εθνικούς πόρους


Υπουργείο Παιδείας, Έρευνας και Θρησκευμάτων
Η πράξη «Ένταξη και εκπαίδευση των μουσουλμανοπαίδων» εγκρίθηκε από την Ειδική Υπηρεσία Διαχείρισης Ε.Π. «Ανάπτυξη ανθρώπινου δυναμικού, εκπαίδευσης και διά βίου μάθησης» στις 16/9/2016 και θα ολοκληρωθεί στις 30/9/2019
Επιστημονική υπεύθυνη της πράξης είναι η Kαθηγήτρια του ΕΚΠΑ Θάλεια Δραγώνα

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