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Improving and protecting human rights

A reflection of the quality of education for migrant and marginalized Roma children in Europe

Silvia-Maria Chireac and Anna Devis Arbona

Abstract

Estimated at 12 million, the Roma population constitutes one of the largest and most disadvantaged ethnic minority groups in Europe and the most socially marginalized and stigmatized group in the European Union (Council of Europe, 2009, 2010). In recent years, following the two waves of EU expansion in 2004 and 2007, the problem of Roma integration into educational systems generated great attention among EU member states. The European Commission’s policy of promoting multilingualism and cultural diversity to foster European citizenship has led to promising results. However, the current economic crisis and lack of effective political integration within EU member states have promoted policies of protectionism. This article provides an analysis of the current situation of Roma children from Eastern Europe, highlighting the opportunities for improving instruction and protecting human rights for this highly vulnerable school-age population. We propose specific measures based on a bilingual and cross-culturally inclusive educational model.