New Policy Brief Recommends How to Eliminate Segregation of Roma in Schools

Europe has segregated Roma children in education for more than half a century.

Europe has segregated Roma children in education for more than half a century.

Over the last 20 years, the topic of school segregation of Roma – hitherto largely unrecognized and unaddressed – has gained significant attention. Yet, actual desegregation of schools has been hard to come by in most CEE countries. To move school desegregation from the realm of law and policy to real-world practice, immediate and sustained action is needed.

The policy brief Segregation of Roma Children in Education – Successes and Challenges, launched on December 3, 2015, addresses these limitations. The brief takes stock of the state of the school segregation of Roma, the initial successes in combating it, and the remaining challenges. It also puts forth specific recommendations for national and local policy-makers, civil society, intergovernmental institutions, foreign governments, donors, and other key stakeholders on what should be done next to address the segregation of Roma children in schools throughout Europe.

Authored by scholars in the fields of education, human rights, and law, the brief re-emphasizes that much of the progress on this issue to date has happened at the international level. The authors encourage the next phase of this work to focus on tangible government commitments and grassroots efforts targeting educators, municipalities and other school establishers, and both non-Roma and Roma communities.

“Local authorities should adopt and implement desegregation plans for their schools. Private donors and public funders should institute accountability mechanisms to make sure they are not funding the perpetuation of segregation. Long-term funding from the EU should target desegregation of the schools in both candidate countries and the Member States,” said Dr. Marius Taba, one of the authors of the brief and a well-known scholar and Roma advocate.  

The authors also call on foreign embassies in countries with sizeable Roma populations to issue a coordinated, joint statement urging school desegregation. Further, the policy brief recommends that the European Parliament designate a European Year for School Desegregation to educate the public about non-discrimination in access to education. The ultimate aim is to promote inclusive education so that all children have equal access not just to early childhood services and a primary education, but also to secondary and tertiary education.

For more information, please contact:

Gwendolyn Albert, human rights activist and researcher,, +1-619-734-1800   
Margareta Matache, Roma activist and Instructor, Harvard FXB,, +1-617-432-7536
Marius Taba, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Roma Education Fund,, +36 309 319 407
Adriána Zimová, human rights attorney,, +1-202-549-6267