Decreasing the dropout rate among Roma children from school Programme “Every student could be a winner"

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Country/partner countries

Project lead partner/organization and contact person (e-mail, links) project website
Centre for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance "Amalipe"

Tel./fax: (+359) (062) 600224

Project information – start and end date (if available)
November 2013 - ongoing

Summary (goals and purposes of the project)
The project was a two-year initiative, supported by the Trust for Social Achievement. The Trust for Social Achievement (TSA) is a nonprofit organization, whose mission is to break the poverty cycle by promoting opportunities that help Bulgaria’s most disadvantaged citizens achieve educational and economic success.
It is aimed at preventing the dropout of Roma children in compulsory schooling age. Project activities are also intended to solve the problem of a large number of absences, low grades in school, the relatively small percentage of Roma students continuing their education in secondary schools (high schools) and high school graduates, lack of participation of Roma parents in school life and school structures management. The project steps on the rich experience of Amalipe for the introduction of "Ethnic Folklore - Roma folklore" and the programme reducing the dropout of Roma children from school, which was implemented within a 3-year period in more than 170 schools throughout Bulgaria.
The project aimed to achieve the following main objectives:
Further development and expansion of the network of schools working on the project "Every student could be a winner " - Center "Amalipe" believes that every student is good at something. So we all - parents and teachers need to help each student to find what he/she is good at, how to be the best performer in his/her field and further develop his/her knowledge and skills. Once discovering his/her skills, the student can easily make the transition from what he is best at to the rest in which society wants him/her to be excellent.
Support school teams through small grants;
Monitoring and evaluating the impact of the programme in terms of reducing the school dropout;
Testing of a new working model in 10 pilot schools with increased intervention by the regional coordinator of the centre "Amalipe";
Strengthening the elements:
Working with students - organizing training for capacity building of the student parliament, campaigning for continuing education with youth clubs, created within the project "Youth is tolerance";
- Working with parents - Increasing the capacity of the parent clubs, trainings for chairmen of the parent clubs, "Parents teach parents" - training in areas held by the heads of the parent clubs, involve parents in the activities of small grants;
- Working with teachers - increasing the capacity of teachers, using the model "Learning through sharing experience", organizing conferences in the municipalities, conducting online training to work in a multicultural environment; teacher training elective course " Ethnic Folklore - Roma Folklore", conducting a national conference;
Providing methodological support and educational tools to attract the interest of Roma children and parents in the learning process;
Empowering Roma parents and their involvement in their children’s school life;
Systematic change and tangible improvements in the quality of education for Roma children: The model for recruitment and retention of Roma children in school will be expanded in the second year of the project. Advocacy and informative campaigns will be organized to ensure the institutionalization and sustainability of this model.
The project also provided activities for the formation of a favorable social environment and for changing public opinion to support the quality of education and educational integration of Roma children.
Dozens of schools will be supported with small grants to stimulate their active retention of Roma students and the allocation of resources and their school budgets.
Extracurricular initiatives to increase students’ interest and activity in schools will be organized (e.g. Green Schools , Children Roma Festival "Open Heart"). A number of new materials in the field of intercultural education and manuals to improve the work of the parent clubs and school parliaments will be printed and distributed.

Results of the project
As a result of the project activities, at the end of 2014/2015 school year, the rate of dropped out students is 0.47 % for all 170 schools. For comparison, the rate was 1.83%, when none of the schools were involved in the programme of the Centre "Amalipe". The indentified students at risk of dropping out are 455, of which 35 continued to study the next school year. 85% of the interviewed teachers in the schools heightened their competences in multicultural education and work with parents and students from different ethnicities. 91% of the interviewed directors want to maintain the working process by the multicultural education method from Center "Amalipe".

Who will benefit from this project (target group)
- Schools - 170;
- Students - at the end of 2014/2015 school year, the number of students, involved in the schools working on the programme, increased to 36,377, of which 23,205 Roma students, or 63,79%. Among them, 4,071 students were studying the elective course "Ethnic Folklore - Roma folklore" - 3,523 Roma children and 548 non-Roma children.
- Teachers - nearly 2,400 involved;
- The number of active parental clubs is 154 and the total number of involved parents in them reached 1,328.
- The number of students parliaments is 155 and the number of involved students is 1,489, of which 1,111 are Roma children.
More than 6,000 people were involved in the project indirectly.

Sources of funding
Trust for Social Achievement supports innovative strategies and initiatives with grants to improve the educational achievement of Bulgaria’s most impoverished children, with a focus on the Roma.

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Document - materials that incurred in the project
Intercultural education and educational integration