© 2013 jmanresa

European School system reform to integrate transnational children

The past five years over 20,000 children asked for the transfer of studies in Spain and Italy to be admitted again in the Romanian educational system

By Ola Noureldin and Júlia Manresa

European legislation establishes that  it is  a right for the citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States.  Regarding integration issues, however,  pending reforms are still required.

“Migrant children should be enrolled in school within the same age group as their native peers to ensure their successful inclusion”. This is one of the recommendations from the Confederation of Families Organisations in the European Union (COFACE) to the European Commission, published in the report on Early School Leaving, on 2nd December this year.

The past five years over 20,000 children asked for the transfer of studies in Spain and Italy to be admitted again in the Romanian educational system.What most of these children find when they get back to Romania is a school system that doesn’t focus on their age but on their language and knowledge skills.

“Socialization is way more important in the integration process than children’s abilities on language or geography”, highlighted Núria Fabra, psychologist at the University of Barcelona and co-author of the book “Children’s right in action, Improving children’s right in migration across Europe.  The book researches and  analyzes the condition of Romanian children migrating to Italy and Spain and identifies the challenges they face in their integration process. In the other side, the research also analyzes the cases of children who return back  to Romania after their experience  of migration.

After conducting this research, they brought up to the European Council the recommendation of integrated education programmes, because Children forced to be part of a class more than two years younger than them are more vulnerable to face psychological disorders because they feel punished.

Núria was critical towards the actual implementation of the Schengen area agreement. She believes that an agreement between European countries on this system would make easier for this transnational families to move within European countries.

“We need a transnational education system that allows freely movement in European Schools, if not they are going to be marginalized and excluded”, Núria says.

Due to the economic crisis migration within European countries has increased. Therefore, immigration policy is now on the EU agenda. Countries like UK, France or Germany are trying to restrict EU immigration requirements since increasing numbers of southern and eastern European citizens are crossing their borders.


Contradictory to this tendency, COFACE urges  EU authorities to reconsider the immigration policy.

“The EU policy is currently based on the individual migrant and separated families are largely ignored by policy makers”, they state in the recent report.

Seeing herself in between two countries, Diana Colta, 21 Romanian student settled in Spain,  also believes in the need of more European integration. “Putting barriers never help, people will always immigrate, free movement without problems and barriers is very important.”


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