07 SES 16 B, School and Teacher Practices: Challenging minority ethnic educational disadvantage and exclusion. Examples from three European countries.
International and European bodies urge the improvement of the socio-economic status and social inclusion of the 10-12 million Roma people, scattered throughout Europe and the rest of the world. Despite efforts by the European Union, policy action and reforms do not seem to have raised barriers to equal access to resources, education and decision-making opportunities for Roma populations (European Commission 2012; UNICEF 2011). Thus, Roma people, research has shown, continue to be the most disadvantaged and excluded ethnic group across Europe. In this paper, I report on the findings of two European funded projects -INSETRom (2007-2009) and SEDRIN (2012-2014)- that explored societal, cultural, and school factors relating to Roma children’s school exclusion and marginalisation. Both projects, the first following a phenomenological approach through ethnographic research techniques and the second a critical feminist approach, highlight complexities underlying the school inclusion of Roma in the educational systems of the participant countries. The first project was based on a needs assessment study through qualitative semi-structured interviews with Roma pupils, their parents, and their teachers, in the seven European countries followed by the training of teachers on intercultural education and teaching methodologies to support Roma children’s inclusion in the local school community, as well as its evaluation (for further details of the project and its methodology, see Symeou et al. (2009). The project suggests that Roma parents hold concerns about the social as well as the academic role of the school, raising issues of bullying, language difficulties, cultural issues and social isolation. The second project, involved eight institutions (including five Roma-led organisations) in seven European countries, aimed at empowering Roma women to act as mediators between the Roma children and the school. Roma women received training in skills and strategies to prepare their children for early years school inclusion. The project further argues that lack of school engagement has less to do with Roma families’ attitudes to schooling and far more to do with concerns about the school institution itself. The paper discusses policy and educational implications of the research findings of the two projects for EU initiatives regarding Roma social and educational inclusion. Questions are raised as to the extent to which the school, in its traditional form, can succeed to ‘include’ Roma communities and highlight the urgency for more socially conducive and culturally responsive educational processes that will focus on the inter-relations between all involved, rather than the culture of the Other.
Symeou, L., Luciak M., & Gobbo, F. (2009). Intercultural Education, 20(6). Teacher Training for Roma Inclusion European Commission (2012). Roma and education: challenges and opportunities in the European Union (978-92-79-21851-4). Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. UNICEF (2011). The right of Roma children to education. Available at: http://www.unicef.org/ceecis/UNICEF_ROE_Roma_Position_Paper_Web.pdf
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
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Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
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