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 educational structure of Roma in Slovakia is alarming. According to an UNDP research, only about 20% have completed upper-secondary or post-secondary education, compared to over 80% of the non-Roma living in close proximity. One of the reasons is the poor socio-economic situation of many Romani families. Although schools are free of charge, post-compulsory education presents a financial burden, for example through travel costs. Poverty can be thus seen as a cause as well as a consequence of low education, creating so a vicious circle of marginalization of many Roma in Slovakia. As member of the Decade of Roma Inclusion the Slovak government has set the target to raise the number of Roma enrolled in upper secondary education. For this sake, several scholarship programs for Romani pupils have been launched. The purpose of this paper is to bring an overview of these scholarships in the past 10 years and to present a detailed analysis of some of them. The Slovak legislation does not allow classification of pupils on an ethnic basis and no state policies are aimed explicitly and exclusively on Roma. Therefore, state scholarships are offered for pupils from a socially disadvantaged environment and it is difficult to evaluate their impact on Romani pupils. The paper summarizes changes in legislation and official data in the covered time period. Moreover, it takes a look at non-governmental scholarship programs aimed specifically at Roma children and youth. One of them is offered by the organization People in need Slovakia. Their financial support goes hand in hand with tutoring from social workers through community centers. Their scholarship program has been established in 2010 and since then more than 30 children have been supported. The paper evaluates this program analyzing questionnaires and interviews with social workers and supported pupils. The evaluation focuses on reasons for school success or failure of the supported pupils. Despite great goals for the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015, there has been no major change in the educational situation of young Roma in the past 10 years. The results of this paper could be used for better targeting the support for Romani pupils in the future.
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