What needs to happen?

For most European citizens, there can be no question about the fact that education
is the key to a rewarding professional future.

There may be many difficulties when it comes to finding rewarding jobs. Ideally, such
jobs would match market demands for specific skills with the individual's need for
personal fulfilment. Education and training may answer both types of needs: Europe
as a ‘knowledge-based society’ relies on education for sustainable growth and economic
prosperity and individual lives are shaped by learning experiences, in which
formal education, especially in the acquisition of basic skills, is a powerful force in
enhancing and developing one’s potential.

A successful education is by no means an easy task, both from the student’s and
teacher’s points of view. There are many challenges, some of which
may be overcome with innovative pedagogy, increased mobility,
more adequate resources and, in some cases, a better head start
with improved literacy and linguistic skills. These are difficulties
that Roma families may face, but there are considerably bigger
hurdles to be overcome that are more specific to their situation
and that need to be properly identified and remedied. On many
counts, Europe has not yet succeeded in overcoming educational
disadvantages, which separate many minorities from mainstream
society. In particular, whilst Member States and European institutions
have made considerable efforts to improve the attainment levels of Roma students,
overt or latent ethnic discrimination combined with the cycle of increasing
poverty are still hampering prospects for better social inclusion.

The economic situation of Roma communities is often desperately poor. Whilst it is
not a problem affecting Roma exclusively, it is important to get a clearer picture of
what is at stake. Many Roma people struggle to have access to basic commodities
such as food, basic health care and housing. In that context, education is often found
to be too big a financial burden to bear. Many traditional communities understand
education in a general sense as child rearing, for which the family environment
amply suffices. Whatever benefits a more formal education may present for the
future, in the form of early childhood education and care, are not well perceived.

Source: Roma and Education: Challenges and Opportunities in the European Union

© European Union, 2012


Want to contact us?

icon Project Coordinator
Kostas Diamantis-Balaskas
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Telephone: 0030 210 6822606