Education: the situation of Roma in 11 EU Member States

This report examines the results of the European Union Agency’s for Fundamental Rights (FRA) 2011 Roma survey on education, which show that considerable gaps between Roma and non‑Roma children persist at all educational levels.

Education has a special role to play in addressing multiple deprivations, such as those facing many of the European Union’s (EU) largest ethnic minority, Roma. Education is so important because it largely determines future life chances. Unequal access to education can therefore lead to unequal access to employment, housing and health and ultimately reduce Roma’s chances to enjoy their fundamental rights. Just as a poor quality education limits future opportunities, a good one can lead to better employment prospects and help to lift people out of poverty. 

The gaps identified in this report reflect the widespread segregation of Roma children in education, which the European Court of Human Rights has judged discriminatory. Such segregation also represents a failure to adhere to the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies, which focuses in part on inclusion in education.

Nonetheless, the results also point to improvement for younger age groups. The data illustrate not only that some progress has been made but, more importantly, that further improvement is possible and feasible. Improving the educational situation of Roma is not just about Roma. It is a litmus test of the EU’s ability to achieve progress in the inclusion of all extremely marginalised groups. To support its efforts, FRA will continue to test novel community‑level approaches and deliver evidence of the changes taking place on the ground.