Helsinki considers whether mandatory education applies to children of foreign Roma

The Education Department of the City of Helsinki is currently looking into whether or not mandatory education is being implemented in the case of the children of foreign Roma beggars in the city. Finnish law makes it the responsibility of local authorities to monitor the implementation of mandatory education for children who reside in the municipality.
Marjo Kyllönen, head of education at the Education Department, notes that mandatory education does not mean that there would be a legal obligation to attend a school. However, officials are required to oversee the implementation of education if the children do not go to a regular school.

Kyllönen says that the city’s lawyers have been examining whether or not the supervisory obligation is being fulfilled with respect to the Roma children.
“We are in a grey area here. There is no clear interpretation of what constitutes a permanent residence. What is decisive is how long they have been here.”
Kylllönen feels that the matter should be examined at the national level, at the National Board of Education, and the Ministry of Education.

The Ministry of Education knows of a few cases in which children who have come to Finland as asylum seekers have been denied a place in a school because they have not been seen to be subject to mandatory education.
“They have been individual cases”, says Maria Biskop, a high-ranking official at the Ministry of Education.
She notes that mandatory education applies to all children who live in Finland on a permanent basis.
“According to this, the children of Roma beggars would not be subject to mandatory education if they are not registered as residents of the municipality”, Biskop says.

If mandatory education is seen to apply, the children should be allocated a spot in a nearby school. Kyllönen says that because of the lack of knowledge of Finnish, the children would probably be placed in preparatory classes.
“At present there is plenty of space in such classes. Pupils could be taken there now, if anyone were to register”, Kyllönen says.
However, she adds that she does not know of any foreign Roma children in Helsinki who would be of school age.

Mandatory education for children living in Finland begins in the year that the child turns seven years old.
It continues until the child has passed the comprehensive school level, or when ten years have elapsed – whichever comes first.


Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC and CEO of Portia Web Solutions. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websits. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.

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