07 SES 05 B, Professional Perspectives on Roma Education
This paper offers the results on how the family education of Roma families contributes to improve the academic results of their children. It is based on the EduRom project: Promoting the access of Roma to LLP, VET and employment through family education in Primary schools, a project of the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission. The main aim of the project is to widen the access of Roma community to LLP, VET and employment through the acquisition of key competences and, at the same time, impact in the Roma children academic success. EduRom started in July 2013 and has the participation of 6 countries: Spain (University of Rovira i Virgili is the coordinator), Bulgaria, Rumania, Ireland, Czech Republic and Greece.
Specifically, this paper is centred on the results obtained in a centre of early childhood education and primary education in Spain that has a 68% of students from the Roma ethnic group. The educational centre is located in a neighbourhood in which the families have a situation of financial, job and educational insecurity, being the majority of the family members of the centre individuals who have not finished their studies of elementary school. According to the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020, in some Member States, only a limited number of Roma children complete primary school. As a result of this situation there are a high number of Roma adult people without basic qualifications.
The Project EduRom is based mainly on the European strategy and contributions from previous research studies, such as Brudila Callí, Roma-in, Workaló and, above all, INCLUD-ED Project Strategies for inclusion and social cohesion in Europe from education (2006-2011), a project of the priority 7 of the Sixth Framework Programme of research of the European Commission. INCLUD-ED has identified successful educational actions which, based on scientific evidences, contribute to overcome social exclusion and to achieve educative success of Roma from the most disadvantaged areas.
International research highlights that the participation of families in the educational centers contributes to the educational success of the children (Epstein, 1991; Barron, Hohlfeld, & Ritzhaup, 2010) at the same time that achieve to reduce the students’ absenteeism and increases the graduation rates. It also improves the behaviour and attitudes of students (Henderson & Berla, 1994; Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 1997; Hoover-Dempsey et al., 2005). Therefore, family education facilitates the overcoming of inequality situations of children from families with low educational and from low socioeconomic status. Because of family education , it proves that children in situation of vulnerability can achieve academic success (Flecha, 2012).
INCLUD-ED has identified five types of family participation: informative, consultative, decisive, evaluative and educational, but only recognizes the last three as transformative and creators of an educational impact on the children. EduRom is centred in the type of educational participation, in which the members of the community participate in the learning processes as well as in the training processes for them, in agreement with their needs and requests (INCLUD-ED Consortium, 2009).
INCLUD-ED (2006-2011) states that the types of participation that promote transformation should be developed from a dialogic orientation (Flecha & Soler, 2013). In our case, a type of orientation that will allow the families to be the ones deciding on what do they want to be trained and educated on, how and when legitimizes their decisions in their participation, and therefore they have a greater involvement. In addition, a greater involvement of the families contributes to improve the results of the children. To have the participation of the families’ voice, and among other actions, they have organized family assemblies.
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