President of the Institute for Educational Policy Gerasimos Kouzelis said that the pilot program is already implemented in six kindergartens and it will be extended next year. The IEP undertakes to implement the pilot preschool education program in kindergartens operating in the purely minority settlements of Thrace.
As Kouzelis pointed out, “The program provides that a kindergarten teacher and a bilingual member of the minority with a Greek higher education degree will be teaching in class.”
The pilot program provides for the use of the mother tongue as a support language aimed at harmonious socialization of minority children in the school environment, better learning of the Greek language and, by extension, cognitive development, and to better prepare for a successful stay in the first classes of elementary school.
According to Ministry of Education officials, the program that aims at the socialization of children in the school environment will run for two school years (2016-17 and 2017-18) and in a small number of kindergartens in Thrace. It will have scientific support with several school and extracurricular activities designed to involve the parents. To support the program, there will be an ongoing training platform for teachers and evaluation of their work.
According to Proto Thema, the program is entitled “Pilot interventional Muslim support actions in Schools of Thrace”, and has a budget of 401,594.84 euros and according to the announcement of SYRIZA office in Xanthi, the purpose of the program is “balanced linguistic development and the pursuit of cognitive competence of infants in the comfortable use of two languages, orally and in writing,” and also ensuring equal educational opportunities.