Low Romani Attendance in Greek Schools
10 July 2002
According to the Athens-based daily newspaper Avgi of May 30, 2002, Mr Nikolaos Gesoulis, Greece's Deputy Minister of Education, stated that, in secondary schools in the municipalities that Roma live in, in the Argolida Prefecture in northeastern Pelo-ponesse, "no Romani child is attending, or has attended classes for the past three years." Mr Gesoulis's statement was based on document no. 27893/18 of the Secondary Education Directorate of the Argolida Prefecture, dated April 3, 2002. According to the information submitted by the Greek government to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, of the 742,866 primary school (excluding kindergarten) children in Greece, only 8,500 are Romani. Accordingly, of the 731,910 secondary school children in Greece, only 1,750 are Romani ( Full text of the report ).
Non-governmental organisations working on Roma rights issues in Greece state that they believe the number of school-age Romani children in Greece is significantly higher. According to the 2001 Ministry of Education Circular F4/115/G1/791, Section B, "[…] principals and teaching staff should not only admit Romani schoolchildren to school, even if they do not have all the necessary documents, but they should also actively try to find them and, in co-operation with the schoolchildren's parents and other competent agencies, ensure the schoolchildren's school attendance" (Full text of the Circular ).