07 SES 07 A, A Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 (Part 2): Educational Initiatives and Interventions
Symposium continues from 07 SES 06 A
Roma communities are one of the most educationally marginalized groups in Europe. Such marginalization is often linked to multiple forms of exclusion and leads to a breakdown in trust and communication between Roma communities and wider society and institutions (Rostas, 2012). In the context of school this disconnection accentuates monoculturalism in the curriculum and in the ethos of the school (Ryder, Rostas and Taba, 2014). Community involvement in school, especially where the interests of school and community converge, is a central dynamic in improving pupil participation and attainment but also provides role models and challenges negative stereotypes held by staff and pupils (Diez et al. 2011). Such a collaborative relationship is the pinnacle of the different types of home/school relations; it integrates the resources of both the school and community and is built on partnership and dialogue (Feiler 2010). Thus inclusive education needs to be predicated on interculturalism, where through dialogue and partnership change is mediated and negotiated. After briefly defining inclusive education and the relevance of improved home/school links for Roma educational inclusion the paper will make some reference to landmark examples of such initiatives over the past decade. However, most of the paper will provide an overview of the support and encouragement to such measures through the Decade for Roma Inclusion and EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies. Particular reference will be made to a number of Central Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Romania but reference will also be made to the UK. The paper will argue that despite strong entreaties by policy makers to develop inclusive educational experiences for Roma there is a ‘rhetoric-reality gap’. To bridge this gap forms of inclusive community development are required which build capacity in Roma communities, and provide them with agency and the means to engage in decision making processes in schools. This needs to be coupled with measures which deliver economic, social and spatial inclusion.
Diez, J., S. Gatt, and S. Racionero. 2011. Placing Immigrant and Minority Family and Community Members at the School’s Centre: The Role of Community Participation. European Journal of Education 46(2): 184–196. Feiler, A. 2010. Teacher – Parent Collaboration to Promote Children’s Learning. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell. Rostas, I., ed. 2012. Ten Years After: A History of Roma School Desegregation in Central and Eastern Europe. Budapest: Central European University Press. Ryder, A. Rostas, I. Taba, M. 2014. “Nothing about Us Without Us”: The Role of Inclusive Community Development in School Desegregation for Roma Communities. Race Ethnicity and Education, 17(4): 518-539.
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