04 SES 09 A, Taking Risks In Inclusive Education: Tales From The Field
We have been implementing our research projects among the students of Roma/Gypsy student colleges since 2011. The student college is a self-governing organization functioning at Hungarian universities that has had two functions since its foundation. It has been responsible for supporting the scientific/academic advancement and professional organization of children mostly coming from middle class and upperclass families. On the other hand, with its function of compensating for disadvantages, it provided upward mobility and advancement in the society for students coming from lower social positions. After the change of the political systems, with the evolution of a pluralist democracy in Hungary, it was recognized that there was a considerably larger proportion of the Roma/Gypsy community that lived in deep poverty and low social positions than it would have been expected according to their representation in the whole population. (Kemény-Janky-Lengyel 2004) One of the reasons for this is the fact that there is a huge gap between the schooling levels of the „majority society” and the Roma/gypsy community. Only 2% of the people belonging to the Roma/Gypsy community have university degrees compared to the 30% of the majority. (Forray-Híves 2013) It is an immense disparity, not explained by any demographical or other factor. To make it simple, a person of Roma/Gypsy origin has significantly lower chances of obtaining a degree in higher education. The criteria of equal chances and equity are not met in the Hungarian education system. (Lannert 2015) This revelation induced those integrational intentions in public education and higher education that resulted in the evolution of student colleges. These commenced their activities in 1998 and set the explicit goals of supporting the social mobility of disadvantaged learners, with special focus on learners with Roma/Gypsy origin.In our research project we examine the pedagogical methodology of these organizations, their management, and the students participating in their activities. The main focus of our investigation is the scrutiny of social mobility (is there intergenerational mobility?) and the presence of inclusive approach. We suppose that all of these students obtain a higher qualification than their parents. This higher qualification will probably provide them such opportunities at the labour market that will enable them to reach higher living standards and higher social positions. In order to receive higher qualifications, these young people have to be surrounded by an inclusive environment during their studies. This assists them with overcoming their difficulties, compensating for their disadvantages, obtaining their diploma or advancing in scientific/academic life. These „spaces” are the Roma student colleges. These can achieve their aims if they are mutually inclusive. (Varga 2013) During the investigations a new, formerly unknown notion appeared in the Hungarian context as well. This is the issue of intersectionality. (Óhidy 2016) Approximately two-thirds of the examined students in our research project are characterized by intersectionality (they come from families with disadvantaged socio-economic position and at the same time they belong to the Roma/Gypsy minority. To sum up, a situation intersectionality explains the conditions of these students in the society. This brings up the question how their minority identity helps or hinders their success in schools. In my lecture l would like to present a summary of my research projects.
In the first part of our research projects we studied the evolution of a Roma/Gypsy student college, the Wlislocki Henrik Student College. We carried out the anyalysis of documents, made interviews with the founders. The second step was to carry out investigations with questionnaires among students of several Roma/Gypsy student colleges between 2013 and 2015. The majority of the questions involved issues of social mobility, future visions and participation in social life. In 2015 we scrutinized the presence of inclusive elements in the Wlislocki Henrik Student College in the framework of an action research project. Interviews were made and questionnaires were filled out by the students and workers of the student college program. In addition to this, several deep interviews were recorded. In 2017 a secondary analysis was carried out on a sample of 58 people. These participants were members of the Romaversitas Foundation Láthatatlan (Invisible) Student College in Budapest in 2002. All the 58 members gave interviews with the length of several hours. A secondary, follow-up analysis followed the interview making process. On the one hand, we prepared descriptive evaluations of the hardcore sociological data. On the other hand, we coded the interviews with a content-analysing software. The focus of the investigation was to scrutinize social mobility and the services provide by the organization. In 2017 we continued making deep interviews, but exclusively with students of the student college in Pécs. Emphasis was put on the factors influencing their school success either positively or negatively. In 2017-2018 we managed to prepare four interviews with the former leaders of the mentioned Roma student colleges in Budapest and Pécs. We were curious about the services provided by the colleges and the extent of meeting students’ demands.
Based on all these, we came to the following conclusions. 80% of Roma student college members obtain a university degree as the first in their families. A lot of them advance two or three steps according to their qualifications. This result proves that the establishment of these colleges was not unnecessary. It was essential, they proved to be crucially important. It should be highlighted as an important result that in the future visions of Roma student college members going on to higher academic levels (MA, PhD) appears in high proportion. They have the ’imagination capital’. (Becker 1964) Ethnic self-identification of the students is important from the viewpoint of Romology studies. Considering the services of the organizations, we may observe that on entering the student colleges the financial support, the scholarships are the most important for the members. However, later on belonging to the community and the relationship network become the most valued, so the social capital that they cannot have achieved without the assistance of the student college membership. (Coleman 1997) The student college in Pécs meets several requirements of inclusivity. Nevertheless, further steps need to be taken in order to provide more individulally-tailored assistance. The interviews made in Pécs pointed out the importance of a person or an organization that supported the colleges members in their further studies and helped to offset the inequity of the education system.
Becker, G. S., 1964: Human Capital. University of Chicago, Chicago. Coleman, James Samuel, 1997: Család, iskola, szociális tőke, In: Kozma Tamás (szerk., 2004): Oktatás és társadalom, Debrecen: Kossuth Egyetemi Kiadó Forray R. Katalin – Híves Tamás, 2013: Az iskolázottság térszerkezete, 2011. Iskolázottság. Educatio, 4,. 493–504. http://epa.oszk.hu/01500/01551/00066/pdf/EPA01551_educatio_13_04_493-504.pdf Kemény István–Janky Béla–Lengyel Gabriella (2004): A magyarországi cigányság 1971–2003. Gondolat–MTA Etnikai-nemzeti Kisebbségkutató Intézet, Budapest. Lannert Judit 2015: Hatékonyság, eredményesség és méltányosság a közoktatásban. In.: Varga Aranka (szerk.): A nevelésszociológia alapjai. Pécsi Tudományegyetem, Pécs. Óhidy Andrea 2016: A halmozottan hátrányos helyzetből a diplomáig. Gipsy Studies 37. Pécsi Tudományegyetem, Pécs. Varga Aranka 2013: Roma szakkollégium az oktatáspolitikában. Romológia folyóirat 1. szám. 2013 nyár. Pécsi Tudományegyetem, Pécs.
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