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Quality Education for Roma: Ending the reproduction of social inequalities Mihai Surdu Roma Education Fund Belgrade, June 2, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Quality Education for Roma: Ending the reproduction of social inequalities Mihai Surdu Roma Education Fund Belgrade, June 2, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Quality Education for Roma: Ending the reproduction of social inequalities Mihai Surdu Roma Education Fund Belgrade, June 2, 2009

2 Quality of education The factors determining quality of education: a) educational inputs (curricula, textbooks, school buildings, infrastructure etc.) b) educational processes (teaching, classroom organization) c) educational outcomes or pupils achievement

3 School segregation and quality of education Negative consequences associated with educational segregation: lower curricular standards poor school infrastructure conditions in neighboring Roma schools and lack of educational facilities overcrowding lack of qualified teachers for disciplines that provide marketable skills such as foreign languages and IT low expectations of teachers in regard with Roma pupils lack of parents trust in school institution and accordingly the low involvement in school activities

4 Access to and Quality of education (1) Two closely interrelated issues as seen in the case of school and classroom segregation Drop out and non enrolment it is a rational choice when because segregation school is of a low quality Empirical research shows that in almost all of the cases the school segregation is an issue of quality in terms of the 3 mentioned components It is an empirical fact of fiction schools, segregated Roma schools existing only on the paper where both pupils and teachers are absent in most of the school time Those schools deliver pupils who dont acquire the basic skills of reading and writing even in the cycle of lower secondary education

5 Access to and Quality of education (2) Those schools instead of compensating for social disadvantage are amplifying it, are working for the reproduction of societal inequalities aiming to transform the Roma ethnic group in an underclass Pupils finishing segregated low quality schools even if obtaining their diplomas cannot accede well paid jobs because lacking of skills By school segregation the education systems in the region are reproducing a social structure in which many Roma are kept at the lower end in an unskilled occupations in the garbage industry or as seasonal workers in agriculture or dependent on social benefits

6 Why improving quality of education in segregated Roma schools does not work? Very high costs and lack of sustainability over the time High risks of segregated schools to come back to lower standards after the end of projects Most of the money invested in teacher training are lost because high staff turnover Mistrust of the Roma parents due to a long history of underachievement in segregated schools Low expectations of the teachers remains prevalent Stigma attached to pupils and teachers in segregated schools remains The experience shows that investing in segregated Roma schools does not significantly improve the school attendance, does not reduce the drop out and does not improve the school achievements.

7 REF approach of Desegregation High level of legitimacy in Roma communities Sustainable access to better school infrastructure, qualified teachers and mainstream curriculum Improving the school attendance of Roma pupils and reducing consistently the drop out Improving school results of Roma pupils as demonstrated by research in Bulgaria and Hungary The pull up effect resulting from being together with children from different socio economic backgrounds and cultures Raising expectations of teachers in regard with Roma pupils and their future school career Avoiding stigma attached due to placement in a separate Roma class/school or a special school Economic benefits for the society from the early investment in integrated education as shown by Hungary and Bulgarian researches

8 Evaluation of REF supported desegregation projects in Bulgaria (BHC-REF 2008) VidinPlevenMontan a Stara Zagora SlivenSofiaPlovdivBerkovitsa Number of students in the project during 2006/ Number and percent of dropouts during 2006/ Average academic achievement 2006/ Average results at the BLL and Maths tests of participant Roma students from integrated schools Maths : BLL: Maths: 16 BLL: 15.5 Maths: BLL: Maths: 13.9 BLL: 12.3 Maths : BLL: 9.37 Maths: 12.5 BLL: 9.06 Maths: BLL: 10.98

9 FOURTH GRADEEIGHTH GRADE BASECONTROLBASECONTROL Proportion of Roma students based on parents statements (%) Proportion of Roma students based on teachers estimates (%, balanced against the number of students in classes) Admission rates (%) after having finished grade 8 (with maturity at end) ProgramControlDiff All students Roma Non-Roma Disadvantaged Not disadvantaged Evaluation of the OOIH program, Hungary, Gabor Kezdi & Eva Suranyi, Central European University CEU

10 Evaluation of the OOIH program, Hungary, (2) The effect of the OOIH program is positive on: students reading skills on students admission to secondary schools on students self-esteem, locus of control and coping on non-Roma students social distance from their Roma peers (smaller distance) The effects are not very large but they are present in all dimensions and they are positive for all kinds of students (Roma and non-Roma, disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged) The mechanisms are complex student-centered education and student autonomy seem important Program sometimes (but not always) breaks the negative effect of student composition in many cases results are strong only if fraction Roma stays below 30% inter-racial contact shown to always increase tolerance for non- Roma

11 What else outside the education system is nedeed? The legal approach of prohibiting segregation does not seems to produce the intended results alone if not coupled with an active Roma civil society to tackle the issue at the grassroots level On the other hand, when the Roma NGOs become implementers of the desegregation measures, their role and capacity for being the critical voice is reduced Media should be regarded as a potential influent stakeholders in reducing the social distance and changing mental patterns in order to prepare the ground for desegregation

12 What else…?(2) European Union pressures acted as an incentive when countries have been in pre accession stage. Once entered in the EU this pressure evaporates. The new pressures on member states in speeding and scaling up the desegregation process should be reflected in conditional ties put in spending the structural funds. In the national legislations there should be financial and administrative sanctions for educational staff found to maintain or create situations of classroom or school segregation.

13 Thank you for your attention! Website:

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