11 Getting an Education: How Travellers’ Knowledge and Experience Shape Their Engagement with the System
Who Are the Travellers?
Getting an Education
How Travellers’ Knowledge and Experience Shape Their Engagement with the System
In 2005, following years of lobbying by Traveller organizations for appropriate provision in education for Travellers, the Republic of Ireland engaged in a consultative partnership with Traveller organizations—Pavee Point, the Irish Traveller Movement, and the National Traveller Women’s Forum—to develop and produce a comprehensive strategy for Traveller education. In 2011 Traveller supports in education were cut in an unprecedented and draconian manner. The state’s stance on Traveller education has consistently fallen short in its recognition of the specific needs and rights of Travellers in education. This chapter discusses the situation of Travellers in Ireland linked to recent European policy developments regarding Roma and Traveller integration and the EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child (European Commission [COM], 2011b). It is well documented that Travellers and Roma experience marginalization across Europe (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights [FRA], 2010a; UNICEF, 2011). They face prejudice, discrimination, and racism, and ongoing disrespect is widespread. In his report on Roma and Travellers’ human rights, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Tomas Hammarberg stated that “efforts to secure the fundamental human rights of Roma in practice can and must be Europe’s present and future” (Hammarberg, 2012, p. 224).
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