In Slovakia, where the Roma people account for 8% of the population, chronic school failures for children and 90% unemployment of Roma adults is the norm. Roma kids often enter school without knowing basic skills such as the alphabet or with limited proficiency in the Slovak language teachers use to instruct. As a result, 40% of Roma kids end up in “special schools,” the equivalent of special education. After nine years, most students have the equivalent of a fourth grade education, with little future hope of job prospects. Most have experienced significant discrimination beginning with the school evaluation process where the lack of preparation is often seen as a long term learning disability.
In 2014, the EU Education and Training Monitor described this phenomenon as “processes of assessment which unjustly perceive some children as less educable than others and lead to organizational segregation.” Studies conducted by the United Nations, the Council of Europe and Amnesty International further describe the challenges for Roma youth as a result of substandard education. “Romani children across Slovakia remain trapped in a school system that keeps failing them as a result of widespread discrimination” states David Diaz – Jogeix, Amnesty International’s Europe Deputy-Director. “It deprives Romani children of equal opportunities and sentences them to a life of poverty and marginalization,” he added, “Segregation in education means a life-long stigma for children whose future chances are brutally limited.
Our response: Equipping a child’s first educator
At Roma Learning to Fly, we are tackling these issues and working to change statistics by providing educational opportunities for Roma families. We are committed to equipping Roma parents to be their child’s first educator, and help maximize a child’s academic success by teaching basic literacy skills.
September 8 is International Literacy Day. It’s an opportunity to recognize the need for education and literacy and to engage. Find out how you can engage with us to help transform the lives of Roma children and communities. Contact us today to discuss opportunities for partnership.