Nationwide Survey Shows Positive Trends in Roma Education and Inclusion in Bulgaria
A nationally representative survey on the education and self-realization of the Roma community members from the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 shows that Roma have increased their participation in the education system – as a number of students in both secondary and higher education.
"All attitudes have undergone positive changes - so that now both girls and boys go to school. Extremely positive trends are registered", commented to BNR sociologist Alexei Pamporov from the Trust for Social Initiative.
The survey covers over 4,100 people. It was made according to the methodology of the UN Development Programme’2011. This is not a one-time study of attitudes, it traces the life history of several generations, Alexei Pamporov said in the radio show "HorizontBefore Noon". The aim is to compare the data collected over a 10-year period and to take account of differences.
The proportional share of Roma completing higher education, for example, has increased 6-fold, but is still small. There has been a decline in illiteracy rate, especially among those who do not live in segregated neighborhoods. The additional survey, which tracked these differences in Roma living in mixed neighborhoods, reported literacy of 92%, which the researcher commented was very close to the national average. "Geographically it's the worst where there are big ghettoes with big problems."
The more years Roma children spend in a kindergarten, the higher the likelihood of completing secondary or higher education, another of the researchers' findings shows. The proportion of graduates is twice as high among Roma who have attended kindergarten. "It is extremely important to ensure that Roma children have access to kindergartens, as we have a very low coverage rate there – about 25-30%, which varies for different regions of the country. The state has to invest in such projects."
Roma employment has increased from 19% to 45%, the national survey shows.
Vocational high schools are a very good key to integration, and the increase in years spent in the education system acts as prevention against early marriages, summed up Alexei Pamporov.
The only negative trend the study registers is the growing educational segregation. Of the 31% in 2011, currently 47%, or almost half of Roma children, study in schools where there are only Roma children, commented Alexei Pamporov. "We are talking about an absolutely unacceptable phenomenon in both European and global terms."
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