07 SES 07 A, A Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 (Part 2): Educational Initiatives and Interventions
Symposium continues from 07 SES 06 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.
Iulius Rostas and Claudiu Ivan open the second session with an analysis of policy making for education of Roma in Romania. Contrasting official discourses with the findings of a longitudinal study conducted on cohorts of Romani and non-Romani children, the authors conclude that educational inclusion policies in Romania are based on widely held beliefs partly taken from European-level studies, neglecting regional- and local-level data and context. Tina Gažovičová examines scholarship programs which have targeted Roma in Slovakia in various ways, paying particular attention to an initiative which combined financial support with tutoring organized through community centers. Her findings provide a potential basis for better targeting support for Romani pupils in future. A contribution to the session by Christina Rodell Olgaç and Angelina Dimiter-Taikon treats the introduction of Romani mediators in Sweden on the basis of the particularly ambitious strategy adopted by the government for the period 2012-2032. Inspired by critical ethnography and action research, their analysis attends to negative as well as positive consequences of increased cultural capital acquired through mediators’ participation in a two-year training course. The symposium’s second session and thus also the symposium closes with a comparative look by Andrew Ryder at support and encouragement for the inclusion of Roma in education in selected countries of Eastern and Western Europe. Making note of a gap between rhetoric and reality where the education of Roma is concerned, this account identifies forms of inclusive community development needed to endow local Romani communities with agency and the means to engage in decision-making processes in schools.
Brüggemann, Christian. 2012. Roma Education in Comparative Perspective. Roma Inclusion Working Papers. Bratislava: UNDP. 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.
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