MINELRES: Fwd: Bulgaria: research project Dropping out Roma

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Sat Jul 25 17:54:41 2009

Original sender: Roma Virtual Network <romale@zahav.net.il>

&#65533;Dropping out Roma&#65533;

In today&#65533;s global world education is crucial to the well being of both
individual and society. What models should the Bulgarian educational
authorities implement in view of making it actually accessible for all
children, notably the ones from minority communities? This has been the
main objective of a research project
&#65533;Towards desegregation of the Bulgarian school: educational policies and
social technologies designed to overcome the dropping out of the Roma&#65533;,
carried out by a group of sociologists headed by Prof. Nikolay
Tilkidjiev from Sofia University, 2005-2008. The project was financed by
the National Research Fund at the Ministry of Education and Science.

&#65533;An average of 20,000-30,000 Roma children drop out of the educational
system on an annual basis. This has been going on since 1990, which
means that out there is a threateningly growing number of people,
uneducated, untrained for today&#65533;s labour market, i.e. these are people
that have great trouble finding a job. They will remain jobless, with no
income and hence marginalized, criminalized. This is a time-bomb of
major proportions in the midst of the Bulgarian society&#65533;, pointed out
Prof. Tilkidjiev.
One of the main reasons for so many Roma children to become education
dropouts is a lack of funds. Another reason is the absence of working
schools in small settlements where Roma kids live. And though the
concrete project concerns &#65533; only&#65533; Roma education dropouts, the problem
is essential to the overall development of prosperity of today&#65533;s
multicultural and multiethnic Bulgarian society.
&#65533; Our recommendations concern policies that need to be taken on board in
order to tackle this huge deficit. Statements such as&#65533; Roma integration
in society&#65533; are utterly void if not supported by practical policies,
directly aided by the state. The latter has so far committed itself to a
great number of initiatives only formally. If check up government
departments&#65533; sites, specifically the Ministry of Social Policy and
Labour, you will be impressed with the number of ongoing projects. And
yet, the result has been next to nil, since most initiatives have been
implemented by leaps and bounds. Another major portion have been the
direct result of EU initiatives, formally complying to respective EC
requirements, the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015, included.
Small-scale and individual initiatives on the part of one or another
foundation will not resolve the issue in its entirety. These are
temporary measures and they cannot replace the commitment of the state
which must be permanent.&#65533;
The book&#65533; Dropping out Roma&#65533; cites positive relevant practices in
Eastern Europe- Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. It
also comprises a summary of ideas and initiatives to tackle the dropping
out of children from racial and ethnic minorities in the United States
as well as analyses by the European Roma Rights Centre.
&#65533; One of the ideas we promote and which has gained acceptance in the
practice of successful countries is the unison in which central and
local government, experts and the civil sector need to work. We need the
non-governmental organizations, their ideas and practice, coming from
grass roots. They will be able, allying with the other two sectors, to
bring policies to successful completion. They are part of the civil
sector, they are part of the mediation between power and citizens&#65533;, said
in conclusion Prof. Tilkidjiev.
Written by Ivelina Vatova
Translated by Margarita Dikanarova
Published on July 22, 2009

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