School segregation and discrimination is holding back thousands of children with disabilities and those from Roma, refugee or migrant backgrounds, according to Nils Muižnieks.
Arguing today, in a new paper for an inclusive approach to education, the Commissioner for Human Rights states: “Many European countries still deny thousands of children, including children with disabilities, Roma children and refugee or migrant children, equal access, by keeping them in segregated schools.
“This is a violation of children’s human rights with far-reaching negative consequences for our societies. This is a violation of children’s human rights with far-reaching negative consequences for our societies.
“Member states have an obligation to secure the right of every child to quality education without discrimination.”
The paper first provides an overview of school segregation in Council of Europe member states, as well as its main causes. It also outlines the dangers of separate education , setting-out the key principles that should underpin any policy to eradicate segregation and promote inclusive education.
Finally, the report offers twelve recommendations to develop better education policies, in particular through improved anti-discrimination legislation, school desegregation strategies and better regulation of school admissions.
“School segregation harms children’s learning opportunities and is a clear injustice against minority and other vulnerable groups of people, which also perpetuates their marginalisation.
“States should adopt a combination of strong anti-discrimination measures and policies that promote more inclusive education systems where all children learn together. This is not a utopian project, but an achievable goal that can ensure more equal treatment of all children and, in the long term, improve social cohesion.”