MINELRES: Roma Education Fund press release: Conference on education of Roma children, Budapest, 2-3 April

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Mon Mar 26 17:23:10 2007


Original sender: Alexandre Marc <info@romaeducationfund.orgOriginal>


FOR PUBLICATION 

RENEWED COMMITMENT ON EQUAL ACCESS TO EDUCATION FOR ROMA CHILDREN IN
EUROPE IS URGENTLY NEEDED 
Roma Education Conference will highlight Best Practice and Future Plans

Hungarian Primer Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany and Shigeo Katsu, Vice
President of the World Bank for Europe and Central Asia will give the
opening speeches at Eastern Europe's largest conference on the education
of Roma children that is organized by the Roma Education Fund (REF), in
collaboration with the Hungarian government. The conference will take
place April 2 and 3 in Budapest. The closing speech of the conference
called "Education Reforms and Roma Inclusion in Eastern and Central
Europe" will be presented by Mr. Jan Figel, European Commissioner for
Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism.  

"The conference will assess some of the progress made in increasing
enrolment and attendance of Roma children throughout the region in the
past ten years, but it will also show that progress is slow, and many
barriers still exist to closing the education gap between Roma and
non-Roma in Eastern Europe," said Alexandre Marc, head of the REF, which
since 2005 has launched 65 projects in 13 Eastern European countries,
for improving the integration of Roma children in the region's education
system. The conference will call for an increased commitment of all
stakeholders and in particular government to sustain some of the small
progress of the past years and urgently scale up the efforts so that the
objective of the decade of Roma inclusion could be met. .

There is much evidence that the quality of education that Roma children
receive in Eastern European countries is decreasing. Governments need to
move faster on education reform and focus more on equity. Practices like
placing Roma children in special schools for the mentally handicapped
are still prevalent, geographical segregation of Roma communities is
increasing, and implementation of multicultural approaches to education
is lagging behind. 

Around 250 participants from all over the world will discuss the
achievements and the lessons learned since the launch of the Decade of
Roma Inclusion in 2005, which was aimed at reducing Roma exclusion in
Eastern European countries within a ten-year framework. The Decade was
an initiative developed by the World Bank and the George Soros
Foundation. 

Some of the conference participants include such high-ranking officials
as, Marko Bela, Deputy Prime Minister of Romania; Dusan Caplovic, Deputy
Prime Minister for the Slovak Republic; Viktoria Mohacsi, Hungarian
Member of the European Parliament among others.

At the conference, the REF will release a new publication, called
"Advancing Education for Roma," which contains an analysis of education
reforms for each of the Decade of Roma Inclusion countries from the
perspective of the Roma. The publication contains seven documents,
covering Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic,
Hungary, and Romania. The documents for Croatia and Montenegro are under
preparation and will be released in coming months.

A volume of monitoring reports on "Equal access to quality education for
Roma" will also be released in the framework of the conference. This
volume was produced by the EU Monitoring and Advocacy Program (EUMAP) of
the Open Society Institute, and presents a comprehensive analysis of
basic educational indicators as well as an analysis of the main
constraints and barriers preventing Roma from obtaining full access to
quality education in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Serbia.

The conference will also have a cultural component: a photo exhibit
"Roma realities" on Roma of South Eastern Europe struggle for inclusion 
by the renowned Swiss photographer : Yves Leresche and produced by the
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation will be organized outside
and inside of the building of the Academy of Science. Putumayo World
Music, one of the Roma Education Fund donor, will release its new CD,
Gypsie Groove, with the most famous Roma groups of the region and
finally Parno Grast the Hungarian Roma band from Passad will be
performing at an evening reception.


For more information on the REF's activities and to access the reports
mentioned above, visit:

http://www.romaeducationfund.hu


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