In Sid, located in northern Serbia, an agreement between authorities and the local population has been reached that will allow the children of migrants to attend school with Serbian children.

In recent days, some of the city's parents held protests against the presence of migrant children in classes, maintaining that the migrant children's presence would impede their own children's learning. "The more than 100 children of migrants go regularly to school in classes together with their Serbian peers," Ivan Miskovic, Serbian Commissioner for Migrants and Refugees, told ANSA. Parents in Sid, in contrast to the rest of Serbia, opposed the presence of migrant children at school, maintaining that it would have created imbalances and difficulties in learning for their children, due to the lack of understanding the Serbian language. 

"It's not about intolerance or discrimination against migrants at all, but the concern that for other students the quality or level of instruction could become worse," Zoran Stojanovic, whose two children attend elementary school in Visnjicevo, a village in the Sid municipality, told Radio Free Europe. In recent days in Sid, hundreds of local residents and parents held protest demonstrations against the presence of migrant children in the same classes as their children. Assistant Education Minister Vesna Nedeljkovic appealed to locals to set aside false fears, highlighting that everyone has a right to go to school. "The involvement of migrants in our school system involves absolutely no danger," she said.

Nearly 700 migrant children in Serbian schools

 According to figures from the Serbian Commission for Migrants and Refugees, about 700 children of migrants are attending schools this year together with their Serbian peers. About 3,800 migrants and refugees are currently present in Serbia, a number that's down by about half when compared to recent months when there were more than 7,500. The reduction in arrivals is due to the closing of the so-called "Balkan route" by Turkey, Greece, and Macedonia, and the joint Army-police patrols to strengthen controls at the Serbian borders with Bulgaria and Macedonia.Migrants in Serbia are nearly all housed in various reception centres around the country. During the acute phase of the emergency two years ago along the Balkan route, Serbia was crossed by more than one million migrants and refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other Middle Eastern countries, heading for Western Europe. 

(The picture shows a volunteer drawing together with a refugee child, in a migrant reception center in Northern Serbia. Photo Archive).

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