07 SES 06 A, A Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 (Part 1): Theoretical Perspectives on Education and Policy Discourses
Symposium to be continued in 07 SES 07 A
The Decade of Roma Inclusion (2005-2015) can be understood as a joint effort of European governments and international organizations to fight exclusion and marginalization of Roma communities. Based on coordination and financial support institutionalized through the establishment of the Decade Secretariat, the Decade Trust Fund and the Roma Education Fund, the Decade has been the core reference and baseline framework for a multitude of research activities, initiatives and interventions with education being a key priority. The Decade has contributed to the internationalization of Roma education discourse and triggered large-scale fundraising possibilities for education. Nevertheless, little change has been observed at the local level and many Romani communities seem not to have benefited from this international endeavor.
The objective of this symposium, which consists of two sessions, is to take a critical look at projects, research, and activities related to the education of Roma over the last ten years. The contributors analyze scientific research, scrutinize large-scale interventions, and examine initiatives related to the Decade of Roma Inclusion, paying particular attention to the unintended effects of relevant policies at local, national, and international levels. The methods used by the contributors to the symposium include ethnographic fieldwork, participant observation, interviews, and contextual comparisons.
The symposium is a continuation of a discussion that started at the 2014 conference of the Comparative Education Society in Europe with the panel “Governing Roma Education: International Initiatives and National Idiosyncrasies” and follows a panel at the 2015 conference of the Comparative and International Education Society entitled “A Decade of Roma Inclusion: Local-Level Analysis of Persistent Educational Segregation” . Eben Friedman and Christian Brüggemann introduce each session with a look back at a decade of ECER contributions on the education of Roma. They also give a short overview of relevant policy developments over the last 10 years and point to the need for local-level contextual comparisons to complement international and national level policy reporting. Linked to the symposium is a call for papers for a special issue of European Education: Issues and Studies on the symposium theme.
Jekatyerina Dunajeva opens the first session of the symposium with a close examination at the genesis and deployment of essentialized images of ‘bad Gypsy’ and ‘good Roma’ based on participant observation at two sites in Hungary. Central to her analysis is an evaluation of unintended consequences of this discourse on identity, including perhaps most notably deepening divisions among Roma. Drawing on evidence from Hungary, Romania, and Serbia, Julia Szalai offers a look into the paradox of increasing Romani participation in secondary education on the one hand and increasing educational segregation of Roma on the other. Her observations point to an ‘instrumentalization’ of Romani youth to fill dead-end segments of vocational training which might not otherwise be maintained. Zuzana Kusá makes use of ethnographic research in ethnically and socially mixed classes in 12 Slovak schools to explore how the sense of social inclusion of Romani pupils is created, sustained, or destroyed through everyday interactions among between teachers and pupils on the one hand and among pupils on the other. Her research also catalogs incentives and disincentives for schooling which come from outside the school environment. The session ends with a challenge to the notion of a ‘Spanish model of Roma integration’ by Bálint-Ábel Bereményi and Sílvia Carrasco.These authors review research production on the education of Roma/Gitanos in Spain from 2004 and 2014, reconstructing the approaches taken by qualitative, quantitative, and evaluation research in that period and relating them to recommended and adopted policies. At the same time, they attend to factors which interrupt the aspirations of a generation of Roma/Gitanos.
Brüggemann, Christian. 2012. Roma Education in Comparative Perspective. Roma Inclusion Working Papers. Bratislava: UNDP. Brüggemann, Christian, and Eben Friedman, Eds. 2015. Approaches to the Education of Roma in Europe. Special Issue. Zeitschrift für internationale Bildungsforschung und Entwicklungspädagogik, 38(1). In print. Friedman, Eben. 2013. Education in Member State Submissions under the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies. Flensburg: European Centre for Minority Issues. Hornberg, Sabine, and Christian Brüggemann, Eds. 2013. Die Bildungssituation von Roma in Europa. Münster: Waxmann. Miskovic, Maja, Ed. 2013. Roma Education in Europe: Practices, Policies and Politics. London: Routledge. Rostas, Iulius, Ed. 2012. Ten Years After: A History of Roma School Desegregation in Central and Eastern Europe. Budapest: Roma Education Fund.
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