Early Childhood Education in Roma Communities
Roma Education Fund Romania and UNICEF Romania organised the third workshop from the series Current Challenges for Roma Children’s Access to Quality Education, focusing on the theme Early Childhood Development – Reform Impact on Roma Communities.
The event was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sport who presented reform measures in the area of early childhood development programmes; moreover, a debate was launched about the impact of these measures on Roma children, which also featured discussions about parent education programmes. At the event there were also other governmental agencies and nongovernmental organisations which contributed to debates on themes that are very much on the map at the present, such as the preparatory grade and the latest developments in early childhood education programmes aimed at Roma communities. Research reports – whose conclusions were delivered at the workshop – indicate that early childhood education challenges for Roma communities include infant mortality rate, which is four times higher than the national average, low kindergarten enrolment, poor access to healthcare – with only 50% of Roma children being included in immunisation programmes.
“To Roma Education Fund Romania, the early childhood development and education of children from Roma communities is a priority. We believe that any investment in Roma children’s early childhood education yields incomparably greater outcomes – from their school integration to successful lives. Our organisation supports a lowered school entry age and Roma children’s access to early childhood development services and, therefore, we are in favour of the preparatory grade. With the debate we have started today, we would like future early childhood development policies to be put into practice more efficiently, in particular with regard to the accessibility, quality and equity of this type of services.”, declared Eugen Crai, Roma Education Fund Romania Country Manager.
“UNICEF pays special attention to the early childhood development issue because, in our vision, all young children, including Roma or disadvantaged ones, can develop to their full potential if they have a good start in life. Early interventions and provision of universal education and care services have an extraordinary impact on children’s growth, particularly if we consider the strong link between investments in early childhood development, on the one hand, and inclusion and poverty alleviation, on the other. Within this context, parent education programmes are very important because they contribute to an improved family environment ensuring that the child receives all the support she/he needs for his or her balanced development”, declared UNICEF Representative in Romania, Edmond McLoughney.
The workshop Early Childhood Development – Reform Impact on Roma Communities is part of the project Advocating for the Implementation of the New Law on Education carried out by Roma Education Fund Romania and UNICEF. The event was attended by decision makers from various ministries and public institutions involved in Roma children’s quality education.
Adina Ursulean, PR & Logistics Officer, Roma Education Fund Romania, Telephone: 0785.231.919, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org