Inclusive education for Roma children in Albania and Belarus (legal situation, accessibility, opportunities to learn in own language and support of ethnic identity)

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Abstract

This article is devoted to the analysis of the situation regarding the education of Roma children in Albania and Belarus, evidencing the similarities and differences in legislation and policies in both countries, aiming at highlighting the best practices for each state. The study also analyses whether there is any real approach for inclu­sive education, despite the legislation in force in both countries, as well as evaluating the next steps to be followed for achieving inclusive education for Roma children, whether as part of a minority group or not. Inclusive education is the main focus of those European policies and legislation that guarantees the right to education to everyone. Vulnerability and marginalization are present in all countries. Even the more developed societies have categories of their population that are defined as vulnerable or marginalized. They may not suffer from poverty, but other factors, such as disability or linguistic/ethnic particularities can be sources of marginalization and underachievement. Every human being is different. Because of this diversity, the law should find ways of treating everybody as equal, and with the same access to education and to every other human right. One of the main causes of discrimination and lack of access to education is being a member of a minority group, especially those ones which are not fully recognised as national minorities, such as the Roma. After the fall of communism in Albania, the transitional period towards a democratic system affected the right to education for Roma children, making them suffer from a lack of access to education. The same is reflected in Belarus, where the right to education for Roma children is more protected by non-governmental organizations rather than the state. Treating Roma children with equal access to education will not only help this marginalized group, but also the whole of society by accepting the differences as a normal phenomenon.

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