Even though in Romania education is compulsory and free of charge, families have to allot large sums to books and uniforms, protection and school activities. The study revealed that children from rural areas are more disadvantaged and more likely to drop out of school than their urban counterparts.
And this only scratches the surface. There are certain categories of children whose rights are severely undermined, such as children who live on the streets, those who are HIV positive, children whose parents have gone abroad for work and unaccompanied Romanian children found in foreign countries.
Children from the Roma ethnic group are still discriminated against, found the report. Some 80 percent of youngsters who do not get any form of education belong to this ethnic minority. The number of children who do not have birth certificates is still high, especially in the Roma minority.
Year on year, educational standards are on a downward trend. In all international evaluations, Romanian children came last. Additionally, there are not enough educational institutions, especially kindergartens, which means children study in two or even three shifts in some schools. Even worse, school principals and education inspectors are chosen on political criteria. The state keeps a monopoly on social services.
The NGOs which contribute financial and human resources to better the system cannot continue their work for lack of a state policy to regulate their finance allocation, the study shows.