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Tuesday, 11 June, 2002, 01:59 GMT 02:59 UK
Asylum seekers 'should go to school'
Child asylum seekers
The government should not 'legislate for discrimination'
Two thirds of people think asylum seekers' children should have access to local schools, despite government proposals to educate them separately, a poll suggests.

A survey for the Transport and General Workers Union discovered that almost two out of three people believed refugee children should be able to attend schools, just like their British counterparts.


Asylum seekers will not learn this country's language and culture by talking to one another

Bill Morris
The result was higher among Labour supporters, the sample of 1,000 adults showed.

The poll's findings were disclosed just hours before MPs begin report stage debate on the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill.

Champion social inclusion

Home Secretary David Blunkett faces growing opposition from 30 MPs - including Labour former ministers - about his proposal to educate the children of asylum seekers in segregated centres.

Charities and trade unions have criticised the idea of educating the children in asylum accommodation centres rather than normal schools.

Bill Morris, TGWU General Secretary, said: "To champion social inclusion while denying asylum-seeking children access to local nurseries and schools is both morally and intellectually confusing.

Bill Morris
Morris: Asylum seeker children will learn more from integration
"It defies logic and goes against our international obligations.

"Asylum seekers will not learn this country's language and culture by talking to one another."

Mr Morris argued that the government should not "legislate for discrimination".

The majority of those asked said plans to accommodate asylum seekers away from population centres would damage race relations.


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10 Jun 02 | UK Politics
25 Apr 02 | UK Education
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