Romanian Government Issues Notification on Desegregation in Education

On April 20, 2004, the Romanian Ministry of Education and Research issued a Notification, signed by Romanian Secretary of State Ms Ioana Irinel Chiran, in which it proposed to ensure equality of access to and quality of education for all children, particularly Romani children, irrespective of ethnic origin or mother tongue. According to an unofficial translation of the Notification, because of reports of segregation of Romani children in education and in order to comply with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UNESCO Convention on Discrimination in Education, the Ministry "bans the formation of groups in […] education […], comprising exclusively or preponderantly Romani pupils." The Ministry went further to state "Segregation is an egregious form of discrimination […] Segregation has as a direct consequence the unequal access of children to quality education. Separation in kindergartens and schools leads invariably to an inferior quality of education than that offered in groups, classes and schools with other ethnic majority populations. Maintaining sepa-ration in education based on ethnicity has negative effects for both Romani and Romania society in general."

The Ministry ordered School Inspectorates to take all measures to promote the principles of integrated schooling and to undertake an analysis of all schools in which Romani pupils form a disproportionately high percentage of the school's population and initiate plans aimed at ending segregation. A deadline of May 28, 2004, was set by which County School Inspectorates were to submit a re-port to the Ministry regarding the extent of segregation in schools within its territories and outlining its plan of action to eradicate segregation. (ERRC)

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