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A comparison of national education policies for europe’s largest minority: The Roma teaching assistant

Author(s): Irena Bačlija

Journal: Journal of Comparative Politics
ISSN 1337-7477

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 51;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: Roma | educational policy | Roma teaching assistant | positive discrimination | good praxis

The Romani community is the largest European minority andhas two main characteristics; first, the Roma have no motherland to act as their patron and, second, the Roma encounter similar problems regardless of the country they live in (low education levels, high unemployment, poor housing conditions and dependency on social transfers). This makes public policies that address this marginalised population even more important. According to many authors, the first step in improving the Roma’s status is to grant the Roma auxiliary rights and benefits. International studies imply that the starting point should be education policy. When the Romani community is granted special support in the education process the unemployment rate consequently drops, their value in the labour market rises and this enables them better access to financial resources. The gaining of a sustainable financial status has a positive influence on welfare support (reducing it) as well as on housing accommodation. This article is a result of extensive research on implementation of the Roma teaching assistant, one of the most valued mechanisms for better inclusion of the Roma in national education systems. Based on the international comparison of this mechanism in CEE countries we found grounds for the further promotion and institutionalisation of the Roma teaching assistant. The empirical study reveals the experiences, status and potential of Roma teaching assistants through the eyes of principals, teachers and Roma teaching assistants.
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