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Starting Early and Fostering Inclusion: From theory to genuine effective practices- the case of Roma from Romania Magda Matache Romani CRISS International.

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Presentation on theme: "Starting Early and Fostering Inclusion: From theory to genuine effective practices- the case of Roma from Romania Magda Matache Romani CRISS International."— Presentation transcript:

1 Starting Early and Fostering Inclusion: From theory to genuine effective practices- the case of Roma from Romania Magda Matache Romani CRISS International Conference The Right to Education for Every Child: Removing Barriers and Fostering Inclusion for Roma Children Belgrade, June 2-3, 2009

2 Romanian context: policies and data related to early childhood services Children belonging to Roma families, minorities, poor families face greater developmental obstacles, and tend to have fewer than average resources invested in them Close to 20 years of experience with education of Roma show that the educational gap between Roma and non- Roma is together with discrimination – the primary cause of disadvantage when it comes to securing opportunities for higher education, employment etc.

3 Crèche Parents who use the crèche: more than 70% of the mothers and 60% of fathers have secondary education or university. Parents with gymnasium studies only use the centers in a percentage of 10%. Only 3% of those who use crèche are Roma Only 1,5% of those who use the weekly centers belong to Roma and Hungarian minority – beside the lack of educational staff and curriculum, there is no optimal space for understanding cultural differences, facilities for bilingual communication, reading in children language

4 Kindergartens Kindergarten program: participation of Roma children in the preschool system is less then 20% The curriculum is not attractive for children belonging to a different cultural background The educational staff is not prepared to address the issues of the Roma children: language problem, cultural differences, discriminatory attitude of the kindergarten personnel and Romanian children and parents There are only a limited no. of kindergartens in Romania, and the most affected by shortages are Roma children

5 Initiatives for Roma mothers and children between 0-3s Campaign and counseling (Education 2000+): -program targeting pregnant young Romani women -program developed inside the community - counselling on: education and care, health, and nutrition -Roma human resources (health mediators ) and qualified personnel (doctors, nurses, pedagogical workers, social workers, philologists) have been instrumental in this initiative

6 Initiatives for Roma mothers and children between 0-3s Multifunctional ECD centre (Step by Step, Unicef Romania): -a service for children up to 3-4 years old, irrespective of their social status, income, ethnicity and religion, through a convergent approach of the child and parents involvement, especially of the mother -a service based on competent personnel, that can cover the healthcare and nurturing of the child, child learning and education, child protection and family assistance, with the purpose of each child to have a good start in life and equal chances -multidisciplinary teams (pediatrician, midwife, nurse, educator, psychologist, resource persons for the group)

7 Initiatives for Roma children between 3-6s Good start for school-summer kindergartens (MECI,Unicef, Romani CRISS): -a program designed to prepare Roma children for the first grade -developed and used a pre-school curricula for Roma children (Development of a positive attitude towards working in multicultural groups, motivation for school, abilities necessary for school activities) Educational Support Centre – continue supporting the children after the summer program(homeworks)

8 Initiatives for Roma children between 3-6s Interculural kindergarten (MECI,Ref, Romani CRISS): - a project developed in an monocultural system that have no focus on children needs, differences - the aim : to tranform the kindergarten in an inclusive space where children belonging to minorities, including Roma feel accepted - the kindergartens curricula included activities that reflects the principles of inter-culturality; The kindergardens were equipped with didactique materials with the same aim; all (Roma and non Roma) parents have participated to events organized at the level of the kindergarten


10 Lessons learnt These programs are confined to small scale NGO implemented projects financed by various international donors (UNICEF, OSI, REF). Programs are often unsustainable and critics have pointed out weaknesses related to cost effectiveness and lack of subsequent programming for children that have benefited from these services. The pace of transfer of knowhow and methodology into national and European education policies has been slow, Resources available for implementing wide scale programs are insignificant considering the real needs,

11 Services designed to be culturally sensitive Experiences with early childhood services for Romani children show that early childhood education programs work if designed to be culturally sensitive. –home visiting to parents by qualified personnel: comprehensive health services and new models of service delivery, including home visiting to Roma women of childbearing age, beginning before conception and continuing after birth; –language: within the crèche involve Roma speaking personnel and trained education staff on cultural diversity issues; –increase home and informal care programs: even if the crèche will become educational centers with a strong component on the individual and cultural needs of the child, a significant number of Roma parents will continue to raise the children at home; therefore the programs has to consider this aspect and become very local though community centers, home visiting, training of parents and other family members, local campaigns, –well-designed early intervention programs for Roma children that considers the cultural sensitivity, community needs and resources;

12 Costs Designing early childhood services having in mind available human resources can both reduce costs and increase effectiveness: - Health and School mediators are an already available resources and can become the means to promote and implement early childhood programs - The network of Roma community centres engaged in both social and education programs can become spaces for more complex early childhood programs

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