Not having access to quality inclusive education drastically limits children’s chances to fulfil their potential, to learn essential life skills and to earn a living once grown up.
Although the situation of children in Romania has steadily improved over the past 28 years, challenges persist. For too many children, accessing quality education is an everyday challenge due to factors such as poverty, discrimination or lack of support from parents and the community. As of today:
* Almost 400,000 children are out of school;
* Only four in five children complete grade eight and seven in 10 complete high-school or vocational training;
* One in four Roma children learns in segregated classes;
* Many children with disabilities do not go to school – their chance of completing compulsory education is less likely than their peers;
* Four in ten 15-year-old students barely write, read and count – pointing to unacceptable gaps in quality;
* One in five adolescents and young people do not go to school, receive no vocational or other training and thus cannot find employment.
Making sure all children go to school is essential for their chances to thrive.
Such statistics do not appear overnight. They expand with every child who doesn’t go to kindergarten, with every class skipped. For many children, school is too far away, their families struggle with poverty or need them to stay home to look after their siblings. Some children feel discriminated against or excluded by teachers or classmates. Many parents don’t feel comfortable interacting with teachers, others think education is not important.
Children most at risk of dropping out of school come from rural areas, poor families, Roma communities or live with a disability.
The drop-out rate is three times higher in rural areas than in urban ones.
Roma children are six times less likely than other children to complete secondary education.
The causes are diverse:
- insufficient funds, standards, tools or methodologies;
- lack of training among teachers and school managers;
- parents who don’t understand the benefits of education;
- inadequate or poor parents-teacher communication and partnership;
- weak involvement of parents and caregivers in school life;
- discrimination against Roma people, children with disabilities and girls;
- violence against children such as violent discipline being generally tolerated.
The sooner children drop out, the harder it is for them as young people to find work, to make ends meet and later send their own children to school. This perpetuates poverty from generation to generation.