Education Department

The Education Department, which was established in January 2001, basically focuses on two themes:

On the one hand, it deals with school education in the broadest sense: with opportunities for education and further education, scholarships and promotion programmes. The department staff gather information on state and private education services, devise seminars for teachers and prepare teaching materials dealing with the history of the persecution of the Roma and Sinti minority during the National Socialist era and with civil rights activities in the Federal Republic of Germany. The department also analyses standard schoolbooks and makes recommendations if it feels these are warranted. In this and in other areas of educational policy, the department is committed to breaking down prejudices and furthering the cause of equal opportunity for minorities.

The second focal point of the work of Education Department II is its commitment to the rights of the German Roma as set out in the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. So far, only the German Land of Hesse has passed a decision (July 1998) to protect Romani on the basis of this charter, thus placing it on an equal footing with other minority languages in Germany such as Danish, Sorbian or Frisian. In many Sinti and Roma families, Romani, after German, is their second language and forms a vital part of this minority group's cultural identity.

Owing to persecution of the Sinti and Roma under National Socialism and continued discrimination against them since 1945, Romani is now an endangered language. It is therefore important to strengthen awareness among members of this minority of the importance of preserving their language.