A Greek university is considering enrolling refugees in response to a massive influx of migrants to the country’s islands.
The University of the Aegean, which has departments on the islands of Lesbos, Samos, Chios, Rhodes (pictured), Syros and Lemnos, is to write to the Greek government to ask if it can admit more students than its official limit.
It follows the arrival of an unprecedented number of mainly Syrian migrants on the Greek islands in recent weeks, with an estimated 28,000 disembarking in one three-week period this summer, the Greek Reporter says.
About 8 million Syrians have been displaced by civil war, with some 4 million leaving the country.
Stefanos Gritzalis, the university’s rector, has told the ProtoThema newspaper that his goal is to internationalise the university and to respond to the unfurling migration crisis on the islands.
The university’s council is also to send a letter to the European Commission and the Council of Europe to inform them of their plan and emphasise the necessity of inclusion of these refugees in European society.
The migrant situation is the latest pressure on the Greek university system, whose funding has been cut by 54 per cent between 2008 and 2014 despite admitting 11 per cent more students, according to a European University Association report published last year.
University rectors complained last year that drastic cuts have caused “chaos” in many of the country’s universities, which are now struggling to function after having laid off hundreds of administrative staff members.