A high proportion of Roma children are never enrolled in schools and when they are, it is mostly in special or correctional schools, segregated from non-Roma children.
In Romania, the country with the largest Roma population in the EU, 15 percent of Roma children have never been enrolled in a school programme. In Serbia, the situation is even worse, with the figure rising to 25 percent.
In Slovakia, 60 percent of the children enrolled in special education in the year 2008-2009 are Roma.
Several NGOs working on Roma issues have criticised the so-called EU Platform for Roma Inclusion as being too vague about the aims and means to achieve a de-segregation of Roma children.
The platform should include employment, health care, housing, access to justice and measures against hate crime and anti-Roma violence.
Despite the efforts to expand and improve education for Roma children, as many as 50 per cent of those in Europe fail to complete primary education. UNESCO, in collaboration with the Council of Europe, is working towards ensuring the right to basic education for Roma children, with particular emphasis on improving access to early childhood educational opportunities and their transition to quality primary education.
Some areas of interventions for Roma children:
- Developing personal trust with parents and influential Roma members.
- Working actively on the positive attitude of schools and employers: training of Roma teaching assistants, teachers and school administrators.
- Providing institutional support and training to Roma NGOs capable of effective advocacy, linking those NGOs to wider regional and national activities and campaigns and strengthening networking across borders to impact on policy processes at the national and EU levels.
- Developing a network with other institutions to ensure integrated care.
- Creating training, development, internship and funding opportunities for the generation of Roma women and men who will be the future leaders of national and international Roma movements.
- Ensuring the fair application of legislation
- Promoting Roma women’s access to public institutions and participation in the decision-making processes.