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MISTO AVILEAN! Ensuring non-discriminatory education for Roma children engaged in migration

2019-04-09

Roma children engaged in migration are often excluded from compulsory education. The lack of coordination between schools in localities of origin and destination, often coupled with discriminatory attitudes towards the Roma, impede children’s access to non-disruptive and quality education. Terre des hommes (Tdh) and its partners initiated the “MISTO AVILEAN!” project to promote the non-discriminatory integration of Roma children in the education system of three countries concerned by their migration – Romania, France, and Spain.

Research show that Roma are perceived in negative terms by 41% of the population in Spain and 66% in France. Migration decreases the chances for Roma children to complete compulsory education cycles: 55% of Romanian Roma children between 7 and 10 years old residing in France are not enrolled in school (against 19% in Romania), and 53% in the case of 11 to 15 year-olds (against 39% in Romania). Spain also faces difficulties in ensuring compulsory education for mobile families.

As a result of the project:

  • 60 schools ensure the integration of Roma children
  • 200 Roma children get access to non-disruptive and quality education
  • 240 teachers get trained to provide culturally adapted content at school

By working with AFEJI from France and Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) from Spain, Tdh aims to develop transnational cooperation mechanisms between 60 schools and ensure the integration in non-disruptive compulsory education for 200 Roma children. The “MISTO AVILEAN”) or “Migration = Integration: Service Transfer Optimization” project creates a model of cooperation and integration that can be further used by other schools and states.

Transnational cooperation for non-disruptive compulsory education

By discussing with Roma families and education professionals, we identify the difficulties in ensuring the enrolment in school of Roma children on the move in three EU member states (Romania, Spain and France). These obstacles are tackled through a transnational cooperation mechanism which is created between education professionals and institutions in cities of origin and destination of Roma families. By involving national and local authorities, we develop documents and procedures supporting the transnational follow-up of children on the move in education. The mechanism focuses on provision of non-discriminatory and non-disruptive compulsory education for Roma children, including the ones who are undocumented.

Strengthening the capacity of education professionals

The education professionals’ limited knowledge and practice of working with Roma families on the move is among the difficulties related to low school enrolment of Roma children. After having developed specific tools and methods, we will train 240 teacher and school staff to provide culturally sensitive and adapted content in education. An important aspect is to raise professionals’ awareness of Roma culture and social organisation, anti-Roma prejudice, and national and EU anti-discrimination legislation. Additionally, a digital-based training programme will be set up on ChildHub, promoting the use of positive practice in education for Roma children, encouraging mutual learning and exchange.

Combating prejudices

Prejudices are a major obstacle in ensuring non-discriminatory education for Roma children on the move. We empower children and youth to design and carry out an awareness raising campaign, which will challenge the anti-Roma prejudice and negative representations of Roma in the education process. By showcasing educational success stories of Roma children and promoting their right to education while migrating, we want to change the perceptions and attitudes of education professionals, the press, local authorities, national and EU policy makers, and the wide population.

The project is funded by the European Commission through the Programme “Rights, Equality and Citizenship” (2014-2020) and is implemented between November 2018 to October 2020.