All Roma Children in School
Local initiatives to enroll and keep all Roma children in primary school
August 29, 2006 Roma communities throughout the country launch local campaigns to improve the primary school enrollment and completion rates of children in their communities. The initiative is supported by UNICEF as part of their mandate to promote education for all children.
“Education is the right of every child. All children should be enrolled and complete at least primary school,” said Ms. Hongwei Gao, UNICEF Country Representative. "Achieving universal primary education is also one of the Millennium Development Goals which the Government of this country is committed to".
According to an assessment conducted by UNICEF of primary schools, the estimated average national dropout rate is 2%, however among children from Roma and rural Turkish communities this rate is as high as 10%. This is mainly due to lack of easy access to schools in rural areas, poorer quality of teaching in schools attended by Roma and rural Turkish children, traditional attitudes towards the education of girls, early marriage for girls as well as the work in the grey economy for boys.
“Roma children are among the most deprived members of society. Their exclusion has historical roots. This cycle of exclusion can not be broken without the respect for their rights as children. Through education today’s children will be able to enjoy better living standards tomorrow. Education can open new opportunities that have been denied to so many Roma people for so long,” continued Ms. Gao in an appeal for Roma parents to enroll and keep their children in school.
The “Enroll in School” campaign is an extension of the work being conducted in 40 rural and sub-urban community centers as part of the Area Based Social Development (ABSD) Programme supported by UNICEF. The ABSD programme also includes “better parenting” classes for parents of children aged 0-3, literacy classes for illiterate women (mothers and girls), early childhood education for children aged 3-6 years, and school support activities for children aged 7-14 years.