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Practical obstacles and evidence of problems and differential enrollment rates for certain minorities?

Key Area:
Discrimination, Equality
27/01/2012 - 12:54
Short Answer


Qualitative Info

Particular problems are faced by the Romani children, who attend mainstream schools but often do not speak Greek. An Equality body investigation in 2011 revealed that their Roma identity was completely disregarded in the educational system. The position of the Ministry of Education was that Roma do not constitute a separate ethnic group but belong to the Turkish Cypriot community and thus enjoy all rights deriving from their identity as citizens of the Republic and as members of the Turkish Cypriot community.  In the frame of its investigation, the Equality Body visited the 18th Elementary School of Limassol, where there is a great concentration of Roma children due to its proximity to a Roma settlement; in this school 35 out of a total of 85 students, are native Turkish speakers and mostly Roma. The school was classified as part of the Educational Priority Zone[1]and offered classes in Greek and in Turkish and classes of Turkish history and religion, taught by Turkish Cypriot teachers. A Turkologist assigned to the school told the Equality Body officer visiting that the students only know a few words of Kurbetcha and that there had been no request for the teaching of Kurbetcha either by the students themselves or the UN or the European Union, representations of whom often visit the school. The school headmaster told the Equality Body officer that there were specific problems regarding the integration of the Roma children in the school, which include the fact that they have difficulties in staying within one room for a long time, they view the school as a game and they tend to leave school before completion, particularly the girls the majority of whom do not enroll into secondary education.

The report concluded that educational policy as regards the Roma in Cyprus did not sufficiently take into account the fact that, in addition to Turkish Cypriots, the Roma also have their own special identity, urging the Ministry of Education to intensify its efforts in adopting policies that will address the special characteristics of the Roma, to promote their separate culture and reduce drop out and leaving rates.

[1] This is an institution covering schools in areas which are economically and socially downgraded and is aimed at offering special programs towards the smooth socialisation of the students. Schools which are classified as Educational Priority Zone benefit from a number of measures such as the reduction of the number of students per class, support teaching, free breakfast and other measures adopted in collaboration with the local communities.


Data n/a
Groups affected/interested Roma & Travelers, Muslims
Type (R/D) Anti-roma/ romaphobia
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Education
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