MINELRES: Publication: ERRC report: School Segregation of Romani Children

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Mon Apr 23 08:36:23 2007

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

The Impact of Legislation and Policies on School Segregation of Romani
Children: A Study of Anti-Discrimination Law and Government Measures to
Eliminate Segregation in Education in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary,
Romania and Slovakia 

Budapest, April 17, 2007: The European Roma Rights Centre announces
publication of the study "The Impact of Legislation and Policies on
School Segregation of Romani Children". The purpose of the study has
been to document the state of government actions to desegregate
education of Roma as of the end of 2006. The ERRC presents an overview
of legislation and policy measures which are directly aimed at or may
have an impact on desegregating education of Roma and discusses the
effectiveness of these policies exploring their scope, sustainability
and potential to reverse segregated education. 

The study, based on country-specific review of relevant policies as well
as field research, reveals that existing legal and policy tools,
including targeted actions on Roma education, are not effective in
challenging ingrained patterns of school segregation. Neither
anti-discrimination laws nor other relevant legislation place public
authorities under a positive duty to undertake specific actions to
eliminate segregation in education; such actions are minimal or entirely
absent in some countries. A change requires proactive and long-term
engagement of educational institutions at all levels to eliminate the
physical separation of Roma and non-Roma; to revise educational policies
and consistently monitor their impact in order to exclude the
possibility of segregation in the future.

Although inequalities experienced by Roma in education, including
segregated education, have been given attention by governments in
Central and Eastern Europe, as of the end of 2006, there was no evidence
that the measures implemented by governments could reverse or even
challenge segregated education of Roma. Most of the Roma-specific
measures in the field of education were neither aimed at nor did they
result in visible reducing of the number of Romani children educated in
separate school facilities. Furthermore, Roma-specific actions in the
field of education are rarely related to general educational policies;
these are often stand-alone initiatives without strategic focus or
systematic implementation. Due to the absence of reliable ethnically
disaggregated data, there is no clear evidence what the effect of these
measures on the educational achievement of Romani children is. It is
likely, however, that any positive results will be short-lived as long
as improvement of educational achievement is sought within segregated

In order to address the complexity of barriers for school desegregation
and to overcome the inconsistency of current efforts to remedy
inequalities in education, adoption of specific legislative measures is
required. Functional and effective desegregation policies should be
given effect through binding obligations on public authorities to
eliminate segregated education.  The ERRC recommends enactment in
national legislation of an enforceable statutory duty to desegregate
education requiring public authorities to take specific actions and
achieve measurable results.

Research  toward, and publication of, "The Impact of Legislation and
Policies on School Segregation of Romani Children", was supported by the
European Commission, with co-financing from ERRC core donors Open
Society Institute, the Sigrid Rausing Trust, and the Swedish
International Development Cooperation Agency. The full text of the study
is available in English language at:

For more information or for paper copies of the report, please contact:
Savelina Danova, ERRC Research and Policy Co-ordinator:


The European Roma Rights Centre 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 Centre, visit the ERRC on the web at

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Tel: +36.1.413.2200

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