07 SES 07 A, A Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 (Part 2): Educational Initiatives and Interventions
Symposium continues from 07 SES 06 A
In spite of investment in the education of Roma in the last decade, household surveys have revealed that gaps in educational outcomes between Roma and non-Roma have not changed significantly (Brüggemann 2012). This paper analyses institutional change and stagnation in education through the lens of policy design theory (Schneider and Sidney, 2009). We argue that in spite of the widely held beliefs that education is not part of the Roma culture, that Roma do not value education or that Roma children are non-integratable, an important reason for the limited impact of education inclusion policy lies in the poor evidence base that informs policy design. To support our arguments we analyze longitudinal data (Ivan & Rostas, 2013) alongside policy documents on Roma – the 2003 and 2012 national Roma integration strategies and the Decade of Roma Inclusion action plans. In addition, we argue that meaningful inclusion can be achieved only if the education reforms target all students, parents and educators as well as the system itself. This paper presents results from a longitudinal study conducted in 2011 and 2013 in Romania on cohorts of Roma and non-Roma children suggesting that the determinants of educational dropout and low performance are pupils' perception of school as a friendly environment, ethnicity and poverty. Contrasting these findings with the policy discourse, we argue that educational inclusion policies in Romania are not based on evidence but rather on beliefs of different actors involved in policy-making. These beliefs are partially based on studies about the situation of Roma in Europe and other international studies on education but are not informed by regional- and local-level data collected as part of local initiatives and projects. We thus suggest that a fine tuning mechanism in policy design is needed to re-adjust education inclusion policies according to local needs.
Brüggemann, C. (2012) Roma Education in Comparative Perspective. Roma Inclusion Working Papers. Bratislava: UNDP. Ivan, C., Rostas, I. 2013. Parasirea timpurie a scolii: cauze si efecte, Bucuresti: Roma Education Fund. Schneider A., Sidney, M. 2009. What Is Next for Policy Design and Social Construction Theory?, The Policy Studies Journal, 37(1), 103-119.
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