On 9 September, Council of Europe Director General of Democracy Snežana Samardžić-Markovic joined Romanian President Klaus Iohannis to open the new school year through a visit to Ferdinand I Elementary and Secondary School in Bucharest, where they addressed the impact so far of a joint European Union and Council of Europe project called “INSCHOOL” or Inclusive Schools: Making a Difference for Roma Children, which has been carried out since May 2017 to enhance quality education of Roma children.
Instead of focusing on the child as a “problem”, INSCHOOL puts at the heart of its action the education system and its capacity to respond to the needs of Roma children, to celebrate differences and support their learning experience. To make this a reality, concrete measures, workshops and training of teachers and staff to accommodate the needs of their students, including Roma students, are being carried out through grants provided by INSCHOOL, which has been promoting such comprehensive education policies and practices not only in Romania, but also in the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Slovak Republic and the United Kingdom.
In participating schools in Romania, for example, the programme has so far increased the number of Roma children attending class, created student councils and forums to promote inclusion, established remedial mentoring programmes, and organised inclusion training for teaching staff, among other accomplishments. A second part to this programme is being planned.