The children

Early years

Primary school years



Roma children education

© UNICEF/Bivol
Roma girl and boy at Roma festival

Roma children face all the barriers that prevent other disadvantaged children from gaining a good education, and often to a greater extent. They typically live in deprived communities, with poverty rates four times higher than the national average.Lack of the appropriate clothing or equipment may deter Roma parents from sending their children to school. Discrimination and social exclusion remain common: in some schools Roma children are segregated from the mainstream student body, and schools attended by large numbers of Roma are typically in worse condition than other institutions.

In wider Romanian society, many of the wealthiest figures are relatively uneducated. This is accentuated in the Roma community, and parents may see little value in their children attending school rather than helping support the family financially. School mediators from the Roma community form a vital link between the education system and families but it is often difficult to fill the role, both due to a lack of qualified candidates (high school studies are required) and to budget cuts.

Another Roma custom that can interfere with children’s education is early marriage and childbirth (this is not widespread, but overwhelmingly affects girls). Roma girls are sometimes kept at home to take care of younger siblings.



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