15 November 2016, NIŠ – Twenty five education, social and children welfare practitioners debated about early school leaving problem of Roma children in South Serbia. The round table at the Regional Center for Staff Professional Development in Education encompassed the following 3 topics:
Topic 1: Early school leaving in South Serbia, challenges of Roma community and the importance of early entry into the preschool system of education
Topic 2: Risk identification and intervention: a mechanism for early warning and TUTORING program
Topic 3: Teachers and parents on the same quest: do they cooperate sufficiently?
It was moderated by Mr. Marko Stojanovic. Each topic started with introductions delivered by 2 or 3 key note speakers, aiming to sparkle discussion that followed. Panelists had 30 minutes for exchanging the opinions, viewpoints and arguments regarding the topic the discussion. At the end of each discussion, facilitator summarized the most important points of discussion. This activity is part of the project ’’EU Support to Inclusive Society’’ funded by the EU with 5.4 mil. Euro and implemented by the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia in cooperation with the Ministry of labour, employment, veteran and social policy.
The panelists agreed that early school leaving problem is not only educational system problem but the problem of entire local community. So called ’’illegal asylum seeking’’ was designated as one of the most common reasons for early school leaving of Roma children in South Serbia. Due to this reason, children abstain from education for several months, which after they return back to school requesting permission to continue with education. In this situation, due to long abstention of a child from regular attending the school, schools are not allowed to let the child continue with regular school program. As a consequence, the child has to take additional courses, and in most cases fail to complete the grade. The panelists pointed out that children suffer the major loss in these situations as they in most cases early leave education without gaining any qualification. It has also been concluded that repressive measures should not be implemented against the families of these children, as these measures indirectly affect children, and that field work with these families should be reinforced.
When it comes to education of Roma children, the panelists concluded that it is necessary to start the education as early as possible, from very early stage of life.
The panelists also agreed that local self-governments should establish the local funds for financing the costs of education of children from most vulnerable families.
The round table was organized in the framework of project ‘’Pre and elementary schooling of Roma: fostering opportunities for greater attainment and early school leaving reduction’’ (RECI) which is funded by the European Union and implemented by the World Vision Austria led consortium of partners including Agroinvest Foundation Serbia, Western Balkans Institute, Preschool Teacher Training College ‘’Mihailo Palov’’ Vršac, Cultural Information Center ‘’Pralipe’’ Pirot with the support of the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs as the main beneficiary of the project.
For more information please contact Mr. Djordje Radoicic at djordje.radoicic(at)wb-instittue.org.
Photos: WEBIN 2016