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Minority rights governance: Avoiding the pitfalls of equal treatment when budgeting for education
Prof. Dr. Tove H. Malloy
European Centre for Minority Issues
Release Date:

When governments are faced with economic crises, the education sector is often the first sector to experience budget reductions. This may hit educational programmes for minorities disproportionally harder, if austerity measures are applied equally across the board, as positive measures adopted as a result of minority protection schemes are more costly than regular educational programmes. Minority educational programmes incur higher cost per pupil due to additional and extra-curricula topics and activities aimed at preserving and promoting minority cultures. Cutting special programmes may inadvertently or perhaps deliberately lead governments to discriminate against minority pupils, who have enrolled in minority schools or programmes. Unfortunately, there is little guidance for policy makers and school principals in this regard. International human rights law instruments prescribe positive measures without explaining how these should be safeguarded during economic hard times. Only two international soft law documents provide some guidance with regard to education for minorities. This Issue Brief will examine the standards and guidance available in international law and put these in a perspective of actual practice of education for minorities in Europe. The main argument is that equal treatment or equal reductions across the board do not secure equality; equitabl e processes protecting positive measures are needed. 

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