• Jovana J. Škorić Филозофски факултет Нови Сад


Roma families, civil society organization, educational system and inclusion


The Roma people represent one of the poorest and the most vulnerable groups in Serbia with acute social problems and they suffer the consequences of long-lasting and strong social exclusion that reflects on their employment, education, use of health and social services, etc. Discrimination against Roma is a problem in all aspects of social life, and the research in the Republic of Serbia point to high discrimination in the domain of education. This finding is especially important for this research, because through systematic and early intervention on reducing discrimination in the field of education, the opportunity occurs for improving the quality of life of the Roma population in all other domains. Although there is no precise data on the exact number of Roma children in the education system, some studies (UNICEF, 2010, Baucal, 2012; MICS, 2014) show and warn of their very unfavorable situation in the Republic of Serbia. The educational structure of the Roma population shows tremendous differences in relation to other Serbian residents and completely different characteristics that are caused (primarily) by their difficult socio-economic situation. This difference reflects on the smaller inclusion of Roma children in the education system, the higher level of dropout from the education system, lower school achievements (lower average grade compared to the general population, a higher number of excused and unexcused absences, poorer socio-metric status within the class, etc. all this is followed by confrontation with stereotypes and prejudices that are deeply rooted and often perceived as facts. In view of the abovementioned negative educational structure of the Roma population, the paper seeks to provide a deeper insight (from the perspective of roma parents) into the work of civil society organizations in support of Roma children towards social inclusion in the education system.

The research was carried out in four cities in AP Vojvodina: Novi Sad, Subotica, Sombor and Kikinda, and school year 2017/2018 by CSOs that have the goals related to the inclusion of Roma defined in their Statute. The research relies on qualitative and quantitative methods, and is descriptive and explanatory in its character. In addition, the work relies on analyzing the content of relevant public documents, legal regulations and statistical data. The sample comprised of 179 Roma pupils aged 9 and 10, from 8 primary schools (fourth grades) with a high percentage of Roma children in these cities; of which 76 pupils were beneficiaries of programs and activities of CSOs (40 girls and 36 boys), and the remaining 103 were not included in these programs and activities (57 girls and 46 boys). Additionally, through appropriate interviews (through a pre-structured questionnaire), representatives of CSOs which in their Statute cite the inclusion of Roma as one of the goals were examined. Finally, through the interview, 24 Roma families will be examined; 12 Roma families whose children are involved in CSO programs and activities and 12 Roma families whose children are not beneficiaries of CSO programs and activities. It was established that CSOs provide significant support to Roma children in the education system. In the final part of the text, there will be room for discussion, concluding remarks and concrete recommendations that will strive for social justice within the educational system, as well as better cooperation and coordination between schools and CSOs and more sustainable community support.


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