Parents Oppose Admission of Refugee Children to School in W Bulgaria
Parents of pupils from the Kovatchevtsi municipality have staged a protest in front of a school, opposing plans to allow 12 refugee children to attend classes.
According to Vasil Stanimirov, Mayor of Kovachevtsi, the parents of the children, Somali and Afghan nationals, have been rejected refugee status.
He insisted that they were not to be allowed to attend classes before passing some sort of exam to prove their level of competence in Bulgarian.
"We have nothing against these children, we protest against the fact that the rules are not observed," Stanimirov said, as cited by Darik radio.
An extraordinary sitting of the local municipal council is to be held over the matter.
Some parents have threatened to pull their children out of the school if the refugee children are admitted.
Meanwhile, Stanimirov expressed concern that a decision of some parents to send their children to other schools would result in depopulation of the municipality.
Around 20 pupils are currently enrolled in the local school in the village of Kalishte.
The refugee center in Kovatchevtsi currently accommodates around 80 people.
Out of a total of 12 children, 7 are first-graders, while the other ones are to be enrolled in the higher grades.
Bulgarian caretaker Education Minister Rumyana Kolarova, as cited by dnevnik.bg, called for a balanced solution to the issue.
She said that the school received state funding of BGN 53 00 and municipal funding of BGN 40 000, stressing that the state could not impose a decision on the institution and it was the municipal council that was responsible for managing the education process
Kolarova also called for tolerance and open-mindedness.
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