Roma educational achievement has been historically poor across Europe. While considerable advances were made in the socialist period, the disadvantage of Roma children, manifest in every aspect of schooling, never disappeared and has only worsened over the last two decades.
In addition, segregated education of Roma and Travellers remains a prevalent feature of the educational systems in several Council of Europe member states. This situation has been repeatedly condemned by human rights bodies supervising state’s compliance with international human rights laws as well as by public institutions at national level which monitor human and minority rights. More recently, in some countries, national courts implementing newly adopted anti-discrimination legislation, have ruled against segregated educational facilities finding them in breach of the ban on discrimination and segregation in education.
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 require public authorities to undertake specific actions to eliminate segregation in education; such actions are minimal or entirely absent in some countries. Where desegregation initiatives exist, their implementation is contingent upon endorsement by local educational institutions whose decisions are sometimes informed by public pressure to preserve segregated education. Lack of coherence between Roma-specific measures and other policies in the field of education outweighs the potential positive effect of measures to reduce inequalities of Roma in education.
The 8th meeting of the Council of Europe Dialogue with Roma and Traveller civil society will focus on fighting school segregation through Inclusive education with the aim of:
- Discuss and understand school segregation and social exclusion and its impact on the community and on the society in general;
- Present an overview of legislation and policy measures which are directly aimed at or may have an impact on desegregating schools in order to identify training needs in supporting strategic litigation;
- Identify cooperative project where NGOs can play significant role in promoting and supporting inclusive educational approach;
- Develop synergies with Human Rights Institutions and equality bodies and other institutions for the effective monitoring of desegregation strategies and actions plans at national level for schools inclusions.
Who can participate
Twenty (20) Roma and Traveller representatives of civil society organisations and Roma and Traveller individuals with expertise in fighting school segregation through inclusive education are encouraged to participate.
Interested candidates must completean online Application Form by 13 September 2019,at 18:00 hrs Central European Time (CET).
The online application form is available here.
Participants will be selected based on their merits while securing a balance between Roma and Traveller civil society from local, national and international levels, and other key stakeholders with expertise on the topic. Gender, age and geographical representation will also be taken into consideration.
Applicants should clearly state in their motivation letter their area of competence and expertise in the field and indicate in which way their expertise would contribute to reaching pertinent conclusions on the identified topic for the Dialogue meeting.
Candidates should be:
- In a position to use the outcomes of the meeting in their work;
- Resident in one of the Council of Europe member states;
- Actively involved in Roma or Traveller education issues, particularly in the area of desegregation and in promoting and supporting inclusive educational approach;
- Available to attend the meeting for its full duration;
- Able to express themselves fluently in at least one of the working languages of the Dialogue meeting (English, French, Romani).
Selected participants will be informed by Friday 20 September 2018.