22 SES 11 C, Troubling Mobilities in Higher Education
Over the last 10 years there have been significant policy developments around the issue of Roma integration in Europe, in the form of: (a) legislation; (b) national governments ‘encouragement’ to bring Roma inclusion issues in the policy agenda; (c) Roma advocacy and NGOs taking central platforms (McGarry, 2012; Ram 2012; Xanthaki, 2005). But, despite these positive developments, Roma students’ education opportunities have seen only marginal improvement, mainly when affirmative action programs were put in place (Garaz, 2014). The policy attention on students globally is shifting from recruitment to Higher Education, to successful labour market engagement (Gale & Parker 2014), aiming to raise aspirations amongst the most marginalized populations (Zipin, et.al. 2013). But, the gap between policy intentions and reality does not seem to be closing for Roma students, who represent the largest minority in the European Union. Countries seem to be trapped into path-dependencies: locked in national, often parochial traditions in relation to inclusion policies and lacking policy imagination and sometimes political will to move forward. In this presentation we focus on the role the EU can play, by examining issues of ‘inclusion’ and issues of ‘governance’ of Roma education policy. Our research questions are: a) What is the policy and institutional framework within the EU that applies to Roma education opportunities, and what are the mechanisms the EU employs to effect change? b) How is the wider framework of the Open Method of Coordination in education used by national policy makers in selected countries to interpret issues of ‘inclusion’ in Roma education? c) Does policy learning have the capacity to effect change in Roma education and inclusion? We will present a critical documentary analysis of relevant Communications, Recommendations, and Implementation Strategies of the European Commission, as well as an analysis of selected individual countries European Social Fund Partnership Agreements. The aim of the paper is to (i) discuss the potential of the existing framework of action by the EU on the issue of Roma participation and success in HE, and, (ii) to identify the particular political and methodological difficulties in changing policy on Roma in the interface between the EU and the national levels (see, Alexiadou & Lange, 2013).
Alexiadou N., Lange B. (2013) “Deflecting EU influence on national education policy-making: the case of the United Kingdom”, Journal of European Integration Volume 35, Number 1, 37-52. Gale, T. & Parker, S. (2014) Navigating change: a typology of student transition in higher education, Studies in Higher Education, 39:5, 734-753 Garaz, S. (2014) Helping the Marginalised or Supporting the Elite? Affirmative Action as a Tool for Increasing Access to Higher Education for Ethnic Roma. European Journal of Education Research. 13(3), 295 311. McGarry, A. (2012) The dilemma of the European Union’s Roma policy: Commentary. Critical Social Policy, 32(1), 126-136. Ram, H.M. (2012) Legacies of EU Conditionality: Explaining Post-Accession Adherence to Pre-Accession Rules on Roma, Europe-Asia Studies, 64:7, 1191-1218. Xanthaki, A. (2005) Hope dies last: An EU directive on Roma integration. European Public Law, 11(4), 515-526. Zipin, L. Sellar, S. Brennan, M. & Gale, G. (2013): Educating for Futures in Marginalized Regions: A sociological framework for rethinking and researching aspirations, Educational Philosophy and Theory. EPublication.
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