“The right to education is a fundamental human right”
“The right to education is a fundamental human right. Yet, many European countries still deny thousands of children, including children with disabilities, […] equal access to it by keeping them in segregated schools.”
The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, has denounced this practice when releasing a paper on tackling school segregation through inclusive education.
The paper first provides an overview of school segregation in Council of Europe member states, as well as its main causes. It then reviews the risks that separate education entails and outlines the key principles that should underpin any policy to eradicate segregation and promote inclusive education. Finally, the report sets forth twelve recommendations to develop more inclusive education policies, in particular through improved anti-discrimination legislation, school desegregation strategies and better regulation of school admissions.
[Segregated schooling] 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,
said Commissioner Muižnieks.
“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.”
Inclusion Europe welcomes the publication of the paper and strongly supports Commissioner Muižnieks’ remarks. Segregated education, which is a form of exclusion, can never be an option for children with disabilities or other disadvantaged children. Only inclusion can guarantee that they can reach their full potential and are recognized as members of society on equal footing with everyone else.