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Roma children excluded from distance learning during Greece’s lockdown

A complaint has been filed against Greece’s Education Ministry for ignoring the rights of Roma children during the lockdown and for their exclusion from distance education. The Greek chapter of Helsinki Watch has filed a complaint against Education Minister Niki Kerameos and deputy minister Sofia Zaharaki.

Stressing that most of Roma children have no access to internet, the complaint underlines among others that “the exclusion deprives the children of education.”

Furthermore, the children are at risk of losing the school year as students who do not participate daily on the online course are marked “absent” from the e-classroom.

“There are families without internet access or sufficient number of computers, tablets and mobile phones. Families have often 2, 3 or even more children in the same education level such as elementary school and they have to attend different e-classes at the same time.”

The Greek Helsinki Watch underlines that Roma children were excluded from education during both lockdowns, the first one in spring and the second one since November.

“The Education Ministry has been aware of the problems already since spring time, following relevant reports by teachers, but has done nothing” the GHW said

In a media report on November 20 about the 3rd Elementary School in Zefyri, a suburb of western Athens with a Roma population, the teachers association said that only 4% of the enrolled pupils attend the e-education. That is just 10 out of 229 pupils.

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