Nevada (US), Sep 27 (ANI): Only one Roma (Gypsy) child out of four enrolls in primary school in Europe, according to a recent United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) study.
Eminent Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Europe, which boasted of its human rights record and was an affluent continent, should bend its head in shame over this Roma maltreatment.
The Report indicates that in one of the European countries, rate of completion of secondary school for Roma children was 1.2 percent; while in another, Roma children's attendance at preschool was 0.2 percent. "Roma children may not have the medical certificate required for registration in a kindergarten", it adds.Quoting the Report, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, listed barriers to Roma education as: appalling poverty, persistent racism, discrimination and far-reaching social exclusion, stereotypes and prejudice dating back several centuries, disabilities, chronic ill-health, poor housing, life in marginalized settlements, homelessness, absence of funds to dress children appropriately for school, segregation, mainstream prejudice and xenophobia, being bullied and felt unwelcome at school, abusive school-entry testing of Roma children (culturally biased tests looking for weaknesses and not strengths), etc.
Rajan Zed stressed that something needed to be done urgently and now for this about 15-million Roma community, whose traces in Europe went as far back as ninth century CE, but who still appeared in 2010 as Europe's most unwanted and faced apartheid day after day. European political parties and religious groups and their leaders should strongly come out against xenophobia.
What were the World Bank, UNICEF, Council of Europe, Decade of Roma Inclusion, European Commission, UNESCO, European Parliament, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, United Nations Development Programme, World Economic Forum, etc., doing in their cozy offices while Roma brothers and sisters were continuously suffering, Zed asked.
Rajan Zed argued that instead of blaming Roma for high fertility rates; let us try to close the gap in educational outcomes between Roma and non-Roma. Let us not label and 'culturalise' poverty or exclusion. (ANI)