Background

All member states are required to implement Roma integration strategies before 2020. Education is a key element of social policy. In order to succeed in such strategies, cooperation between member states is essential and thus problems should be dealt with on a European level. One area of fundamental importance to Roma integration is indeed education. Statistically, Roma are significantly underrepresented in all four levels of education: namely pre-school, school, higher and vocational education. These four areas are covered by the subprograms Comenius (preschool and school level), Erasmus (higher education) and Leonardo da Vinci (vocational education). The fundamental problems for Roma at these levels include low attendance, a high dropout rate and general underrepresentation. Additionally, Roma often experience discrimination due to their ethnicity and background, and education is naturally a means of combating this.

 

The ERNE project

ERNE is financed by the European Commission under the Lifelong Learning Programme over a period of two years, from December 2012 until November 2014. The project is a partnership between nine European partners.

 Overview

Objectives and methods

The main aim of the project is the establishment of a network of partner organisations which aims to use the following four methods and activities in order to improve the state of affairs:

a) Identification of good practices: all partner organisations have rich experiences with different approaches and methods for the integration and support of Roma children and young adults in the education systems. Several approaches are available for analysis and identification of transfer potentials. This will be done by the project partnership for the levels of preschool education, school education, higher education as well as vocational training. The inclusion of language learning and literacy issues especially, as well as the analysis of the transfer between different levels of the education systems in the partner countries will be approached with this aim. For the analysis and identification of good practice approaches, open online consultation sessions will be launched to involve target group representatives on a broader level.

b) Exchange and transfer of good practices: the second aim of the network is the transfer of good practice between the partner countries and the institutions involved. A support system will be established for the transfer of single approaches of good practices between partner countries.

c) Development of policy recommendations: concrete recommendations for policy makers will be created in order to sustainably influence policy and decision making in the partner countries as well as on a European level. This will be done for all 4 education levels analysed and in consideration of the 3 crucial issues identified as challenges for all levels (access, staying in the system and transfer). The policy recommendations will also be undergoing a public online consultation process in order to realise high target group and system relevance.

d) Awareness raising and dissemination: we will give a number of public conferences (one per education system level analysed; altogether 4 public conferences). Stakeholders, decision makers and policy makers in this area will be at these conferences in order to discuss the good practice approaches identified. They will also search for solutions for the integration of Roma children and adults through education. These conferences will be supported by a number of other dissemination and awareness raising approaches and activities in order to receive widespread feedback from stakeholders and the interested public.

 

These four methods should improve the integration of Roma on a national and on a European level, by raising the educational prospects of all age groups of the Roma. These prospects will be improved by striving to reach the following three main objectives in education:

1. Ensuring Roma children enter pre-school and school systems

2. Ensuring that Roma remain in the system, thereby reducing dropout rates

3. Ensuring the transfer between and permeability of the various levels of education

 

The context of the Lisbon, Bologna and Copenhagen processes as well as the language and culture of the Roma will be taken into account when identifying good practices. Subsequent policy recommendations will therefore also be focused on the EU 2020 strategy and will aid Roma integration on a European level.

 

Project beneficiaries – Who we will help

  • Roma students of all ages;
  • Organisations, institutions and other entities working with Roma;
  • Roma grass roots community;
  • Teaching staff, local organisations, associations, public authorities and NGOs sensible to the subject of Roma social and economic inclusion and access to education;

 

Project outputs- What we will produce

  • 5 public network conferences
  • Policy recommendation document – preschool education
  • Policy recommendation document – school education
  • Policy recommendation document – higher and tertiary education
  • Policy recommendation document – vocational education
  • Identification matrix for good practices (for all 4 educational levels)
  • Focus Groups
  • Website in partners' languages
  • Facebook site for ERNE

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Lifelong Learning Programme   Programme pour l'éducation et la formation tout au long de la vie   Programm für lebenslanges Lernen

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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