MINELRES: ERRC Report: Segregated Schooling of Roma

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Fri May 7 16:16:33 2004

Original sender: European Roma Rights Center <errc@errc.org> 

Stigmata: Segregated Schooling of Roma in Central and Eastern Europe

May 6, 2004, Budapest. The European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) announces
publication of the ERRC Report Stigmata: Segregated Schooling of Roma in
Central and Eastern Europe, a survey of patterns of segregated education
of Roma in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia.

Racial segregation of Roma in education in Central and Eastern Europe
has persisted if not worsened, causing irreparable harms to generations
of Roma. Roma have been raised with the stigma of inferiority. Numerous
Roma have been denied equal education and life opportunities. They have
been prevented from enjoying the benefits of studying and living in a
multicultural society. Segregated schooling of Roma is a complex
phenomenon which has emerged as a result of the interplay of a number of
factors such as deep-seated anti-Romani racism, the indifference of the
educational systems to cultural diversity, and a lack of effective
protections against discrimination and equal opportunity policies. In
some places, segregated school facilities for Roma appeared as a result
of patterns of residential segregation. Racial segregation has also
arisen as a result of the exclusion of Roma by virtue of their specific
language and culture. 
Finally, racial segregation has resulted from the conscious efforts of
school and other officials to separate Romani children from non-Romani
children for reasons ranging from their personal dislike of Roma to
responding to pressure from non-Roma.

ERRC has undertaken field research in five countries, documenting
empirical facts about separate education of Roma as well as practices by
educational authorities which aim at or result in the segregation of
Roma in schools. 
On the basis of existing data and information provided by educational
authorities, Romani parents and children, as well as other individuals
with relevant expertise, the ERRC report describes the most common
practices of segregating Romani children in education based on their
ethnicity. These include segregation in so-called "special schools" for
children with developmental disabilities, segregation in Romani ghetto
schools, segregation in all-Romani classes, denial of enrolment of
Romani children to mainstream schools, as well as other phenomena.
Whatever the particular form of separate schooling, the quality of
education provided to Roma is invariably inferior to the mainstream
educational standards in each country. With the exception of Hungary,
concrete government action aimed at desegregating the school system has
not been initiated to date. In many cases, governments pursue the
problematic policy of improving the quality of education in a segregated
school environment.

The report concludes with the ERRC recommendations for governmental
policy. The complexity of the issue of segregated schooling of Roma
calls for a thorough-going legal and educational policy reform. The
desegregation of Romani education and the prevention of further
segregation should be the core of governmental educational policies
towards the achievement of equal educational opportunities. The outcome
of the desegregation action should be:

 phasing out of the remedial special schools for children with
developmental disabilities and integration of the students from these
schools into mainstream schools;
 mandatory first year enrolment in mainstream classes no more first
year students in remedial special or other separate and substandard
classes and/or schools;
 enrolment in mainstream secondary education of graduates from primary
special schools and ensuring their successful adaptation;
 elimination of all-Romani schools, pre-school facilities and classes;
 achievement of racial/ethnic balance in the composition of the student
bodies in the schools and classes in each municipality comparable to the
demographic characteristics of the respective municipality.

The report is the result of research undertaken in 2002-2003 with
specific project support from the Human Rights Project Fund of the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, as well as with
core funding from the Open Society Institute, the Ford Foundation and
the Ruben and Elisabeth Rausing Trust.


The European Roma Rights Center is an international public interest law
organisation which monitors the rights of Roma and provides legal
defence in cases of human rights abuse. For more information about the
European Roma Rights Center, visit the ERRC on the web at

European Roma Rights Center
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93

Phone: +36 1 4132200
Fax:   +36 1 4132201



The European Roma Rights Center is dependent upon the generosity of
individual donors for its continued existence. If you believe the ERRC
performs a service valuable to the public, please join in enabling its
future with a contribution. Gifts of all sizes are welcome; bank
transfers are preferred. Please send your contribution to:

European Roma Rights Center
Budapest Bank Rt.
1054 Budapest
Bathory utca 1

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