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DARE-Net project: Desegregation and Action for Roma in Education-Network

Romani CRISS, in partnership with the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, ANTIGONE, the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), Life Together and Integro Association Bulgaria, is launching the DARE-Net project: Desegregation and Action for Roma in Education-Network.

The DARE-Net project will create a transnational network of Roma and non-Roma civil society and academic organisations to analyse practices and initiatives relating to Roma education and school desegregation of Roma children in Romania, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

The project seeks to address the issue of school segregation of Roma children. Not only that school segregation is a serious form of discrimination against Roma, and violates the right of equal access to education, but it keeps the Roma population from realising their full potential as equal citizens and potential leaders. Discrimination, social exclusion and poverty dominate the lives of many of the estimated 10 to 12 million Roma living in the European Union and candidate countries today nearly half of whom are children and youths.

One of the most serious challenges Roma children face is securing equal opportunities in education is school segregation, which is very linked to other issues such low quality of education - lower teacher expectations and poor teaching, geographic isolation. As a result, two out of three Roma students in Europe do not complete primary school and the overwhelming majority do not complete secondary school.

The problem of school segregation is not a national, isolated one, but common to all partner countries. The causes of school segregation, the effects, the context, as well as the types of school segregation are most of times the same in all partner countries.

Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Greece have been selected as the six country sites for their demographic and strategic relevance. On a national level, each country has significant and interlinking Roma populations. Furthermore, all these countries have national and/or European Court of Human Rights’ case law on the segregation of the Roma children issue. A transnational perspective is crucial for applying best practices on combating school segregation in the partner countries.

Although some steps have been taken in some countries, specifically on adopting the legislation banning school segregation, little progress has been made in effectively combating this phenomenon. From the experience of the former National Strategy for the Improvement of the Situation of the Roma population, adopted and implemented by the Romanian Government, the implementation lacked results in the field of desegregation, other than adopting legislation. Taking into account the European context, that 18 member states have adopted their National strategies for Roma, under the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies, it is crucial to have, unlike the past 10 years, mechanisms for monitoring the implementation. Civil society is a powerful democratic tool which can be used to report on the implementation of public policies for Roma. Therefore, clear methodologies which can be used in all member states which adopted National Strategies, are necessary. The project proposes this type of tool, which will have a transnational, yet locally tailored, perspective.

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Supported by EC

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.