The 2019 European Report on Roma integration was recently released. This report focuses on the implementation of Roma inclusion measures in the European Union Member States (MS). It summarizes the most important trends on four policy areas of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies (education, employment, health, housing), as well as fighting discrimination and antigypsyism.
According to the report, most MS invested in measures to reduce early school-leaving (18 MS). The next most frequently used measures included: considering the needs of individual pupils in cooperation with their families (14 MS); increasing the access to, and quality of, early childhood education and care (13 MS); and encouraging Roma participation in – and completion of – secondary and tertiary education (11 MS). Efforts were also made to fight school segregation; use inclusive teaching methods; and develop skills adapted to labour market needs (12 MS each).
As Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová, said: “Receiving proper education from an early age gives every child a chance in life. Member States have worked hard. Now, 90% of Roma children attend primary and lower secondary school.” (source: EU Press release Database)
However, there are still 68% of Roma who leave education early, while the Europe 2020 early school leavers target is 10%. In addition only 18% of Roma children transit to higher levels of education and the absenteeism and early-school leaving rates of Roma are significantly higher than for other categories of pupils.
In terms of central priorities to be addressed, the report indicates:
- To support home parenting and early-childhood learning;
- To systematically monitor and fight school and class segregation;
- To encourage young Roma to pursue higher education.
Some of the policy lessons in this area mentioned in the report include: the importance of early intervention and prevention; the need to ensure participation and empowerment of Roma parents; the role of extracurricular activities for strengthening identity and social networks of Roma children; and the relevance of continuous complex support measures (tutoring combined with scholarship and removal of other cost barriers) in promoting the transition between educational levels and to employment.
Especially in Member States with a high share of Roma pupils, a systematic, complex and long term approach is recognized as needed to fight school and class segregation, which remains a pressing problem that undermines the success of other inclusion measures. According to the report, key parts of this approach include: providing early and free access to quality inclusive early-childhood education and care in integrated settings; supporting Roma parents in school choice; gradual closing of segregated schools by educational authorities; and distributing Roma children across several schools (through the reorganisation of school catchment areas).
The report also highlights the relevance of implementing measures to sensitise the general public on the importance of educational inclusion and intercultural education for community relations.