THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION NEEDS TO STRENGTHEN SUPPORT AND AMENITIES FOR DISABLED CHILDREN IN THE EUROPEAN SCHOOLS

OPEN LETTER TO COMMISSIONER OETTINGER

Brussels, 30 January 2019

 European Schools, a network of 13 intergovernmental schools primarily teaching children of European Union employees, do not do enough to accommodate the needs of children with disabilities, Human Rights Watch and the European Disability Forum said in a joint report released recently (January 2019).

The EU and its 28 Member States have yet ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which guarantees children with disabilities the right to inclusive education.

Despite states’ obligations under the convention, European Schools allow the exclusion of children on the basis of disability. Their Policy on the Provision of Educational Support states that “European Schools do not offer a fully inclusive education system…. [T]he school is entitled to declare itself unable to meet the needs of the pupil.” Union Syndicale asks the European Schools to pay attention and strengthen their support to disabled children, creating a inclusive space for all at school.

Human Rights Watch documented the cases of 12 children and a young adult with a range of disabilities enrolled in five European Schools (four in Brussels and one in Luxembourg) or whose application for enrolment was rejected. These cases shed light on a number of structural issues in the European School system, which also affect students in other European Schools.

However, in its 2018 report and the action plan on diversity and equality between women and men, the European Commission announced that it will request an independent external evaluation to identify and tackle, in the light of the observations and recommendations of the United Nations Committee, the problems related to the educational support in the European Schools.

In this report by Human Rights Watch, it appears that in some cases, teachers warned parents that their child would not receive the support they needed. In other cases, the school administration repeatedly urged parents to move their child to a specialised school arguing that the European Schools were not inclusive and that their children did not belong there.

 

Read here the text written by USB Commission : European Schools – Too little support for children with disabilities...