Access to quality education is an issue of social justice
and of equal opportunities. It is also in the interest of our societies
to make the best possible use of each person’s talents, and to avoid
social costs linked to unemployment and dependency, which may be
much higher than investment in education. However, in Europe, access
to school is not always effectively guaranteed to all children by
law and in practice: children driven out of their countries by military
conflicts, street children, and those suffering from exclusion due
to their social origin, ethnicity, disability or other factors,
need immediate attention.
In this respect, parliaments have a key role to play. Firstly,
they should ensure that national legislation guarantees access to
quality education for all. Secondly, they should ensure that legislation
is duly implemented and that appropriate measures of redress are
in place to meet the specific needs of children from vulnerable
groups. Thirdly, they should rethink and reform education systems
to prevent school dropout and ensure that no child is left behind.
As far as necessary, positive measures should be applied, such as stimulation
of greater parental involvement in early childhood literacy activities
as regards children from migrant communities and targeted measures
focusing in particular on girls and young women.