ECMI Publications Database

#86: Inclusion of Roma Children in Albania's Education System: Rhetoric or Reality?
Merita Meçe
Flensburg: European Centre for Minority Issues
Release Date:

Education of children is a public good which aims at providing relevant tools and means of independence by promoting their diversity, encouraging their active participation and respecting their human rights. Low access to education of Roma children remains problematic for Albanian society, as a whole has failed to transform schools in sustainable cultural agents by comprehensively balancing their development needs with their social inclusion demands. Marginalization and social exclusion of this ethno-linguistic minority who lives in extreme poverty is the main cause of their low enrolment rate, high school abandonment and low school progress. Several efforts made by the Albanian government to mitigate this problem did not yield tangible results because they looked at it from the outside rather than from the inside. Top-down fragmented interventions were insufficient to be synchronized with the voice of this ethnic group. The expectations gap in Roma children education widened due to lack of options and freedom to make choices and protect their self-identity. The Decade of Roma Inclusion has helped bringing the issue of Roma children education to the center of the discourse of both, local and central institutions. However, its success highly depends on their commitment. Policies and programs supporting Roma children education are designed and implemented by people who belong to the majority of the population. As a result, their attitude determines their success or failure.

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