Overview of Education of Roma in Spain


Asociación Nacional Presencia Gitana

Civil Society Decade Focal Point in Spain


The situation of Romani students in the Spanish educational system has changed in the past years. In Spain, we have a public, universal education system and in addition, we have compensatory educational policies for those who need it, and specific allocation of funds and resources. However, Romani students continue to achieve the lowest rates of schooling and academic success in Spain and therefore there’s a huge gap between the qualification and education of Spanish Roma and the majority population.


There’s also a huge level of absenteeism in Primary education and early school drop-out, which are related to the socioeconomic and sociocultural situation of families, so the Authorities need to pay further attention to early school drop-out and the lack of continuity in education. Second chance education to compensate this early school drop-out should also be encouraged. Also, barely five percent of Romani students finish upper-secondary education.


The educational level of Romani adults should be improved through more effective specific programs. If Romani adults are lacking education and basic skills, they are unable to live normally and function effectively in society. About seventy percent of Spanish Romani adults are illiterate, so any attempt to implement plans, projects, actions for inclusion, social cohesion, socioeconomic empowerment or holistic self-development is doomed to fail, because Romani adults in Spain are violated by the misery of ignorance that feeds their levels of poverty and dependence.


Being an insurmountable obstacle to the present, which affects more severely the women, adult illiteracy leads to social distance and inequality to generations of Spanish citizens that have been historically relegated, excluded and marginalized. Thus, historical reparation of Roma in Spain and the rest of Europe is also fundamental.


Therefore, the development of compensatory policies that reduce the social gap and Roma disadvantages in the "Horizon 2020" inexorably requires the urgent eradication of both illiteracy and the lack of basic general education and skills to face daily life, while adressing the terrible problem of absenteeism and dropout of Romani children.


The Education working group of the Spanish State Council of Roma People has elaborated an action plan in 2014, and is meeting regularly in the past months, while organizing and developing several activities to contribute to the implementation of the Spanish National Roma Integration Strategy (NRIS). However, no budget estimation was included in the Spanish NRIS, neither has been in the Operational Plan 2014-2016 of the NRIS, and this lack of budget estimation generates uncertainty and concern in Romani civil society, and prevents a more effective development and implementation of policies and programs.


We hope that the working groups of the State Council of Roma People play a crucial role to boost the cooperation between Romani civil society and the National, Regional and Local Authorities and can yield significant results in the short term in order to improve the situation of Roma on education and other priority areas.