The Issue

The Challenges

UNICEF in Action

Resources on education


Children from Roma communities

© UNICEF / McConnico / 2011
Elimination of social inequality that discriminates against Roma children is one of the regional priorities of UNICEF

Only about 20-25 per cent of adolescents from Roma communities attend secondary school in Central and Eastern Europe.

Children of marginalized ethnic groups, notably the Roma in Central and Eastern Europe and South-East Europe, face serious disadvantages in accessing basic education services in many countries.

Children from Roma communities are much more likely to be out of school than their peers from majority communities. Many drop out or are 'pushed out' before completing primary and lower secondary education. Roma children face serious barriers, such as blatent discrimination, segregation to remedial classes and lack of support for learning and segregation; some Roma children are victims of violence in schools. These barriers, along with barriers in their communities, contribute to high absenteeism and low levels of learning, all of which push Roma children out of the education system. Additionally, Roma children are largely overrepresented in special education facilities and residential institutions intended for children with disabilities. This is largely because of ill-designed assessment procedures, discrimination and a lack of quality, inclusive school environments.

It is difficult to obtain an accurate analysis of the situation of Roma children because of a lack of data. There is an urgent need for more and better data on the challenges facing Roma children.

While Roma are the most systematically excluded minority group region-wide, there are many cultural, linguistic and ethnic minorities that continue to face real challenges to realising their right to quality education, especially in countries that continue to suffer from the aftershocks of ethnic conflict.





Position Paper on inclusive education of Roma children

Education for Roma children

On the way to the inclusion of Roma children

Published by the UNICEF Regional Office for CEE/CIS, 2010


Roma children: A study of barriers  to educational attainment in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Developed as part of Students as Partners initiative, 2009.

Breaking the cycle of exclusion
Addresses the challenges of Roma children in South-Eastern and Eastern Europe and presents strategies for reversing their exclusion.

Roma in an expanding Europe
Published by the World Bank, 2005
Addresses the challenges that Roma families face in a modernizing Europe. 


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