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European Parliament calls on the Commission and Member States to end the persistent school segregation of Roma children [editar]

In a resolution adopted last week (4 October), the European Parliament calls for the situation of Roma pupils in education "to urgently address the situation of Roma children in education in a comprehensive and effective manner, with appropriate short- and long-term policies supported by sufficient EU and national funding."

FSG Incidencia y Defensa de Derechos

European Parliament calls on the Commission and Member States to end the persistent school segregation of Roma children

Fundación Secretariado Gitano welcomes the approval of this Resolution, and shares the proposals that the European Parliament is making to the European Commission and the Member States.

In Spain, the educational levels of the Roma population are very far from the average of the general population for any educational indicator. This situation of inequality is due to different causes, one of them being the high concentration and segregation of Roma students in certain schools.

The latest report by Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG), "Educational situation of Roma students in Spain" (2023), shows that more than 30% of the schools where Roma students study, the vast majority of which are public, are segregated.  This concentration limits the quality of education and the opportunities for school success, but it also leads to stigmatisation, hinders socialisation and reduces the expectations of teachers and students and their families. It cannot be ignored the fact that this phenomenon involves a component of structural discrimination based on the ethnic origin of the students.

To combat this structural discrimination, the European Parliament (EP) has called on Member States to eradicate segregation practices and to implement "comprehensive desegregation strategies with clear targets, sufficient resources and clear and ambitious timetables, adopt inclusive learning methods, guarantee full access for Roma children to school-based activities". The EP considers that the systematic failure to address school segregation of Roma pupils is an issue that affects the fundamental values of the European Union and stresses that international and EU law dictates that all children, including Roma children, should benefit from equal and free educational opportunities, which is not the case throughout the EU.

Furthermore, it considers that school desegregation and discrimination must be accompanied by "socio-economic measures eliminating poverty and social exclusion and increasing living standards of Roma communities, which would break the vicious cycle of intergenerational poverty and reduced learning opportunities at home."

The EP calls on Member States to " support the education of Roma women and girls, with a particular emphasis on the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and on tackling their school dropout rate; points out the need to address gender inequalities and ensure that Roma girls are not left out of any inclusion policies."

To address the severe educational inequality of Roma children, the European Parliament proposes that Member States " systematically monitor dropout risks and inequalities in access to education at all levels to allow for timely interventions, both in terms of pedagogical help and individual counselling, as well as extra-curricular activities for children and their parents."

Understanding that school segregation of Roma pupils is a form of discrimination, the resolution states that Member States should "step up their efforts to eliminate structural and systemic discrimination, including in the area of education that, in addition to fundamental political, social, economic and historical dimensions, also operates through certain norms, routines, attitudes and behaviour that could be of a racist nature and that creates obstacles to achieving real equality and equal opportunities.”

Addressing the Commission, the European Parliament asks it "to reflect on the education of Roma children in its analysis in the framework of the vision of a European Education Area by 2025, which sets a high level of European ambition in the field of education for all Member States of the Union, focuses on improving equity and inclusion in education and training and underpins the Union's commitment to the promotion of fundamental freedoms, tolerance and non-discrimination, including through education."

It further calls on the EU to "monitor and evaluate the progress made, facilitate an exchange of best practices and provide expertise, coordination and technical support to the Member States concerned." The Resolution reminds States that if they do not take decisive action to eradicate school segregation, they may be subject to infringement proceedings and penalties.

For this reason, FSG, in line with the demands of the European Parliament, has been calling for a long time for Spanish educational authorities at all levels of public administration to draw up an Emergency Plan to combat inequalities among Roma students, including measures to prevent and combat school segregation and to guarantee the quality of education for all students, which is an essential principle of our educational system.