Promoting Access to Quality Education and Desegregation of Roma

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Country/partner countries

Project lead partner/organization and contact person (e-mail, links) project website
Open Society Foundation, Step by Step Program Foundation, Roma Lom Foundation, Equal Chance Roma organization- Blagoevgrad and Roma organization – village of Glozhene, he three Municipalities of Lom, Glozhene and Blagoevgrad, The Regional Education Inspectorates, The Bulgarian Reading Association (BulRA), Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Affairs, National Council on Ethnic and Demographic Issues at the Council of Ministers, National Agency for Child Protection and PAKIV

Bulgaria, Sofia - 1000
Step by Step Program Foundation
"Hristo Botev" boulevard N21
Phone: 00 359 2 9806508
Cell phone: 00 359 888 215779

Project information – start and end date (if available)
Start date: March 2003
End date: September 2005

Summary (goals and purposes of the project)
Based on the above mentioned the current situation and needs, and considering the results of all projects and the expertise in this area, the Open Society Foundation – Sofia developed an integrated project, whose aim is to promote the provision of equal opportunities to children and youth of Roma origin in the entire education process and to increase their access to high quality education (from nursery to secondary education).
The project objectives focus on retaining the children at school and providing quality education and adequate preparation for social realization.
Also, in the context of the Framework Program (FP), the project seeks to enhance schooling of children at educational institutions and encourage them to pass to higher levels of education. This is achieved through helping them leave “Roma” preschools and schools and enroll in mixed institutions. Again in the context of the FP that foresees measures against racism in the classroom, the project envisages teacher and parent training for overcoming biases.

Results of the project
850 children of preschool age (6 years and under), 1,650 children of primary and basic school age are involved in education based on the recognition of their rights to equal access to education, and relevant to their individual development needs, to their cultural and linguistic traditions.
230 teaching personnel and 20 school administrators undergone training in Social Justice education, Step by Step child-centered methods and RWCT.
Children (from Roma background) of preschool age are better prepared to enter primary education (especially in terms of language and social skills).
Children (from Roma background) of primary age achieve better results (as evidenced by achievement of mainstream curriculum standards), have greater emotional security and self-esteem, and thus are better prepared to enter and complete the next stage of education.
Improved rates of school attendance and decreased rate of Roma dropouts especially in the key levels – first, fourth and eighth grade.
Great number of Roma children having finished primary and basic education.
Qualitative attitudinal change assessed by means of interviews and surveys among:
Parents (in terms of expectations, support for their children attending school, and encouragement to persevere)
Mayors and Officials of the local education administration
Officials of the Ministry of Education.
More (and more genuine) interaction between adults/children of the distinct ethnic groups.
Positive media attention to the project, helping to change attitudes.
Roma communities will attain a greater degree of inclusion vis-a-vis the wider majority community.
Public officials at municipal and national levels will become more motivated to be long-term agents of change, once they see that the situation is not hopeless and that tangible progress can be made.

Who will benefit from this project (target group)
400 children from Blagoevgrad, Lom and Glozhene participate in the so-called “summer program” that aims to enhance children’s interest in school enrollment and to decrease the number of drop-outs using different approaches.
230 teachers from Blagoevgrad, Lom and Glozhene are involved in the implementation of various activities during the project span – participation in training seminars covering different topics and in the summer program.
90 representatives of the Roma community from Blagoevgrad, Lom and Glozhene participate in meetings, discussions and seminars on the Desegregation Policy.
12 Boards of School Trustees (BOSTs) are involved in training seminars, which provide them with additional information on how to defend community interests and how to support their school.