The special school in Targu Lapus (c) Sat Mic Film, LLC
Throughout Europe, large numbers of Roma children are segregated in ghetto schools, separate classes and even special schools for students with intellectual disabilities. Separate is, as always, also unequal: These schools offer very poor quality education in appalling conditions. Teachers there are ill prepared and unmotivated. The curriculum  is  “dumbed down." Windows and basic furniture are often broken, and handbooks or chalk are hard to come by.

Activists have mobilized to address the issue by mobilizing the international community and bringing landmark court cases. In 2007, Europe’s highest human rights court issued the first judgment on the issue, condemning the Czech Republic for systematically segregating Roma children in special schools for children with intellectual disabilities. Two similar cases, one involving Greece and the other involving Croatia, have been brought since. The Decade of Roma Inclusion, a commitment by 12 European governments modeled largely on the UN Millennium Development Goals, and a new European strategy for Roma inclusion have placed education at their heart. But change is slow, and needs to happen locally, school by school and teacher by teacher.


Prof Jack Greenberg Report on Roma Education Today: From Slavery to Segregation and Beyond (New York: Columbia Law Review, 2010) 
European Roma Rights Center D.H. and Others v. the Czech Republic (Budapest: ERRC, 2013) 
Iulius Rostas Ten Years After: A History of Roma School Desegregation in Central and Eastern Europe (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2012)
Roma Education Fund Inequity and Inequality: Teacher Absenteeism, Romani Pupils and Primary Schools in Romania (Budapest: REF, 2012)
Helen O’Nions Different and Unequal: The Educational Segregation of Roma Pupils in Europe (Intercultural Education vol 21 no 1, 2010)
James A. Goldston Ending Racial Segregation in Schools: The Promise of D.H. (Roma Rights 1/2008)
Edwin Rekosh and Maxine Sleeper Separate and Unequal: Combating Discrimination against Roma in Education, A Source Book (Budapest: Public Interest Law Initiative, 2004)
European Roma Rights Center Stigmata: Segregated Schooling of Roma in Central and Eastern Europe (Budapest: ERRC, 2004)
Mihai Surdu Desegregating Roma Schools: A Cost-Benefit Analysis (Budapest, Central European University, 2003)
Prof. Ian F. Hancock We Are the Romani People (Hertfordshire, University of Hertfordshire Press, 2002)
Isabel Fonseca Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and their Journey (New York, Vintage Books, 1996)

viewer's guide

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who works in the field

The Moldovan family watching Our School in 2011 (c) Sat Mic Film, LLC
International organizations
Amnesty International
Decade of Roma Inclusion
Dosta! Campaign
European Network Against Racism
European Roma Information Office
European Roma Rights Centre
Human Rights Watch
Open Society Justice Initiative
OSI Roma Initiatives Office
Roma Education Fund

National organizations

Areté Youth Foundation
Bulgarian Helsinki Committee
DROM Vidin

Czech Republic
Společně do školy

Greek Helsinki Monitor


Esélyt a Hátrányos Helyzetű Gyerekeknek Alapítvány

Romani CRISS
Şcoala fără discriminare

Equality UK

Facing History and Ourselves
NAACP Legal Defense Fund