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Studies and Researches



  • The working paper discusses potentials and limitations of measuring educational inequality between Roma and non-Roma based on international student assessment data. First, we give an overview about available data sources that have been used to measure educational inequalities between Roma and non-Roma: national census surveys, international household surveys and international student assessments. Second, we analyze educational inequalities in REF focus countries that participated in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2012. Third, we compare the results on student performance, family and schooling characteristics of the Romani-, Slovak- and Hungarian-speaking students in Slovakia based on PISA 2012. 

  • RHSP initiative’s aim is to contribute to creating a generation of Roma professionals in the medical field who would contribute to improving access to quality health services for Roma communities, as well as helping dismantle negative stereotypes about Roma with their own positive examples as Roma qualified professionals. Until now RHSP has been the only regional program of the kind targeting Roma medical students. Since it was launched in 2008 and until summer of 2015, RHSP provided support to 527 Roma medical students from the four countries. Based on desktop research, program administrative data, and survey methodology, the main objective of this tracer study is to investigate the degree in which the RHSP program contributed to a successful academic and professional trajectory of its beneficiaries after seven years of program implementation, as well as the degree to which its beneficiaries managed to enter the labor market upon graduating.

  • The RECI+ Czech Republic Report is intended to aid the appropriate authorities in ensuring the development of unhindered and equal access to quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) services and provision for Czech Roma children, through advocacy rooted in credible and informed research. The growth of early childhood services in Central and Eastern European (CEE) and South-Eastern European (SEE) countries provides a unique opportunity to promote research based advocacy, within a process of practising democratic consultation and through securing collaboration amongst key state institutions, legally competent authorities, majority populations and minority communities, including Roma.

  • In the last decade, there has been a growing awareness among policymakers and various civil society actors that patterns of segregated schooling pose a major barrier for access to equal educational opportunities for Romani communities throughout Europe. Many Roma children are subjected to education in segregated institutions with low quality education. Because of this, a significant number are discouraged from continuing their education. Reasons for not enrolling or leaving school are numerous they include family financial situation, lack of adaptation of educational institutions (discrimination) as well as lack of help to children to master the school materials. Beyond the violation of human rights involved in segregated schooling, research shows, that it is not simple a moral need to do something about segregated education, but there is also an economic need. There is a huge potential in Romani pupils, and in few years’ time economies of Central and Eastern European Member States will heavily depend on those who are now pupils, many of whom are Roma.

  • The RECI+ Croatia Report is intended to aid the appropriate authorities in ensuring the development of unhindered and equal access to quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) services and provision for Croatian Roma children, through advocacy rooted in credible and informed research. The growth of early childhood services in Central and Eastern European (CEE) and South-Eastern European (SEE) countries provides a unique opportunity to promote research based advocacy, within a process of practising democratic consultation and through securing collaboration amongst key state institutions, legally competent authorities, majority populations and minority communities, including Roma.

  • Cilj izvještaja RECI+ za Hrvatsku jest pomoći nadležnim vlastima u osiguravanju neometane i ravnopravne dostupnosti kvalitetnih usluga odgoja i obrazovanja u ranom djetinjstvu romskim obiteljima, te zalaganjem temeljenim na vjerodostojnim podacima potkrijepljenim istraživanjem. Rast usluga posvećenih ranom djetinjstvu u zemljama srednje i istočne Europe (SIE) te jugoistočne Europe (JIE) pruža jedinstvenu priliku za promicanje zagovaranja temeljenog na istraživanju unutar procesa provedbe demokratskog savjetovanja te osiguravanjem suradnje između ključnih državnih institucija, nadležnih vlasti, većinskog stanovništva i manjinskih zajednica.

  • How Can Young Roma Achieve Success in Hungary? contains analysis of the gap in educational and labor market outcomes between Roma and non-Roma at age 22-23 in Hungary. The goal of the analysis is to measure the ethnic gaps and to shed light on the potential causes of the achievement gaps. This study unearths two important conclusions from its analysis: (1) A large part of the ethnic gap in educational success can be explained by skills and abilities at age 14-15 and poverty and home environment during the secondary school years. Secondary schools and geographical location seem to play little role. Differences in test scores, family background and schools explain a large part of the ethnic gap in secondary school dropout; however, the residual ethnic gap is substantial (13 percentage points). (2) This residual gap in dropout rate is related to the prevalence of high-status peer contacts. Roma adolescents with such contacts are significantly less likely to drop out of school than Roma adolescents with the same test scores and family background but without such contacts. Our results mean that ethnic differences at age 22-23 are related to factors that affect children in primary schools and in the early childhood. Among its policy recommendations, this report urges policymakers and strategic decision-makers to adopt policies that improve the long-run life chances of children in extreme poverty, for example, providing children with an environment that facilitates their cognitive development; promoting parenting methods; equal access to high-quality learning environments; providing appropriate training and incentives for teachers that work in problematic educational environments.

  • Since the existence of the REF Scholarship Program, the selection of its beneficiaries has been mainly based on merit. Applicants have been selected on the basis of a ranking, composed of scores given for a set of criteria that referred to applicants’ academic and extra-curricular achievements. The higher an applicant’s ranking in the competition, the higher the chance to eventually be among the REF scholarship beneficiaries. In the last years these criteria were the average of grades from school or university, the motivation to study as described in a statement of purpose, the knowledge of Roma issues as demonstrated in an essay, the participation in extra-curricular activities both self-described and stated in reference letters, and the performance at a face-to-face interview. These criteria had different weighting, the most important being the average of grades. Since an initial study in 2012, the REF Scholarship Program broadened its analysis of trends in the competition with this new study that measures the socio-economic background of applicants from the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 academic years.  

  • Commissioned by the Roma Education Fund, T-Tudok Inc., kept track of the professional pedagogical work of 19 supported tanoda (study halls) during the 2012/2013 academic year. The program’s effectiveness was examined by comparing students’ competency tests, analyzing data gathered with the help of qualitative techniques throughout each fieldtrip, and analyzing quantifiable indicators (e.g., tanoda presence, year-end and midterm ratings).

  • A Roma Oktatási Alap megbízásából a Tárki a 2012/2013-as tanévben 19 támogatott tanoda szakmai, pedagógiai munkáját követte nyomon. A program eredményességét egyrészt a diákok kompetenciáinak tesztelése,másrészt a helyszíni monitoring látogatások során kvalitatív technikákkal gyűjtött információk elemzése, valamint számszerűsíthető adatokon alapuló indikátorok (tanodai jelenlét, évvégi/félévi osztályzatok) által vizsgálták.

  • After 10 years of implementing Law and Humanities [scholarship] Program and following the request of one of the Program’s donors, REF proceeded towards investigating the degree in which the respective Program contributed to the academic trajectory of its beneficiaries, as well as whether the beneficiaries managed to enter the job market on positions relevant for their studies after obtaining higher education degrees. The main reason for doing this is for identifying the ways in which the REF Scholarship Program could be better tailored to respond to the needs of its beneficiaries and to help them become successful in their initial career stages. This tracer study presents the results of this investigation.

  • This study takes into account a survey conducted in lower secondary schools from Centre, North-East and South-Muntenia Regions of Romania: data collected over two research waves in 2011 (Wave 1) and 2013 (Wave 2). 

  • In Spring 2012 REF/SP elaborated a Survey Questionnaire containing questions on identity,family characteristics, family income, social safety nets, and family living conditions. The Questionnaire has been included as part of the Online Application Process for the 2012-2013 academic year scholarships.Due to the online system, the Program managed to collect data on more than 2000 applicants for the 2012-2013 academic cycle, which constitutes a decent sample size for statistical analysis. 

  • The study’s aim is to examine the degree to which residential segregation, inter-school mobility, local educational policies and the share of a town’s Roma population influence school segregation in Hungarian primary schools. In order to determine the impact of various factors on school segregation, a sample was conducted in 100 town and cities in Hungary with the largest Roma populations outside of Budapest. It was found that the inter-district mobility of higher status students, local educational policies and the share of the Roma population in a town were found to have the largest degree of influence on school segregation while residential segregation plays a negligible role."

  • Analytical report of the Institute for Human Rights and the Roma Education Fund about the general situation concerning the primary and secondary education affecting the Roma students in Republic of Macedonia.
    The purpose is to achieve objective depicting of the existent problems, as well as the progress achieved in some areas concerning the education of this vulnerable group. The analysis makes reference to other reports,organizations and institutions that already presented data within the general topic in order to connect the valuable fi ndings from the previously employed efforts. The legal aspect can be found in the listed laws and domestic, as well as international provisions. This is enriched with the latest developments in the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, having the chance to deliberate in several occasions on the issue
    of segregation of Roma students.

  • Low levels of education achievement play a significant factor in the low socio-economic levels and difficult environment in which many Roma find themselves. Zero grade was designed as a tool to for children coming from a socially disadvantage background and who did not achieve a sufficient level of school readiness to improve their readiness for primary and secondary education. The focus of the research was to analyze the effectiveness of zero grade as a compensatory education tool for students with special attention being paid to the potential risks of zero grade and barriers in accessing education for Romani children. Only available in Slovak.

  • The study’s aim was to examine the degree to which teach absenteeism contributed to poor school attendance and performance among Romani pupils in Bulgaria. Although a sufficient linkage was not found between the two factors, the study did find a correlation between schools with insufficient infrastructure, resources and funding and the often substantial Romani student bodies. “Until Romania’s national and country level educational authorities make sure all schools have a fair share of resources, Romani pupils will continue to struggle to compete for their future social and economic success in classrooms emptied of play, games, teachers and even learning itself.”

  • Regardless of the many efforts undertaken by national and international agencies, the problem of the right to study and work for the Roma and Sinti minorities still persists in Italy. In particular, concerning school success, a vertical fall in the upper secondary school enrolment and, consequently, a high concentration of school drop-outs within the Roma population has been registered. The report aims to offer a background exploration and critical overview of the legislation acts directed towards Roma and their educational inclusion. 

    - Also available in Italian

  • Nel corso dell’ultimo decennio molto è stato fatto a livello europeo per sostenere l’inclusione socioeconomica dei Rom. Importanti direttive, risoluzioni e raccomandazioni sono state dedicate a questo tema. Senza voler riassumere qui tutti i documenti prodotti citiamo però i più importanti ricordando in particolare la Risoluzione del Consiglio dei Ministri dell’Educazione riunito in seno al Consiglio, del 22 maggio 1989 concernente la scolarizzazione dei fanciulli Rom e Sinti e dei viaggianti (89/C 153/02). Questa risoluzione riguarda la scolarizzazione di Rom, Sinti e Viaggianti, e presenta differenti azioni (strutturali, pedagogiche, formative e relative alla ricerca e all’orientamento) che gli Stati membri dovrebbero promuovere a livello nazionale e transnazionale. Questa risoluzione è un documento centrale per le comunità Rom poiché afferma che la lingua e la cultura Romanì sono parte dell’eredità linguistica e culturale della comunità europea.

  • The overrepresentation of Roma children in special schools for children with mental disabilities remains a significant problem in Slovak’s educational system. Although Roma officially account for only two percent (up to eight percent according to unofficial estimates), Romani children compose approximately 60 percent of children in special primary schools. Financial support from the European Union could serve as a valuable tool for supporting the social inclusion Romani children and increased their overrepresentation in special education. However, research indicates that the schools receiving financial assistance from the EU did little to address the issue of overrepresentation and did not help facilitate their transfer to standard and secondary schools. 

    - Also available in Slovak

  • Na Slovensku sa za jeden z kľúčových problémov v školstve považuje nadmerné zastúpenie rómskych detí na špeciálnych školách pre deti s mentálnym postihom. Čerpanie financií z prostriedkov Európskej únie prostredníctvom operačných programov by mohlo slúžiť ako efektívny nástroj podpory sociálnej inklúzie znevýhodnených skupín a zároveň by mohlo mať pozitívny dopad na znižovanie nadmerného zaraďovania rómskych detí do špeciálneho vzdelávania.

  • Studies have found that investing in disadvantaged young children is a rare public policy that not only promotes productivity but also fairness and social justice. Investments in high quality services for young children and their families, particularly those who are poor and disadvantaged, lead not only to the protection of children’s rights, but also to later savings in public expenditure. The Early Childhood Roma Inclusion (ECRI) project aims to gather data and information on the inclusion of young Roma children in early childhood services in the Czech Republic, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania and Serbia. Research indicates that although progress is being made in many areas related to Roma inclusion in these services, social exclusion, inadequate public policy and a failure on the part of education systems to recruit, retain and education Roma children continue to hinder access to early childhood services.

  • The overrepresentation of children from cultural and linguistic minorities in special education is endemic worldwide and the placement of Romani children in Central and Eastern Europe in special education schools for pupils with mental disabilities is no exception. This policy paper examines the ways in which Romani children from Czech Republic, Hungary, Serbia and Slovakia are placed in such schools. More specifically, it examines the link between school readiness assessments in these countries and how they relate to the overrepresentation of Romani children in special education. 

    “Among the roots of the broader problem of separating children into educational streams are two major methodological flaws in entry testing as practiced in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Serbia, and Slovakia. First, only one kind of instrument is used. Second, the instruments rely on standardized measures that assume a pupil’s exposure to certain cultural experiences resulting in a repertoire of knowledge and skills associated with putatively intelligent behavior, as well as a vocabulary associated with membership in the middle class.” Also available in Slovak

  • Táto štúdia sa venuje skúmaniu mnohých zo spôsobov, akými sú rómske deti z Českej republiky, Maďarska, Srbska a Slovenska segregované od svojich nerómskych vrstovníkov a zaraďované do špeciálneho vzdelávania. Štúdia sa zameriava na hodnotenie školskej zrelosti (vstupné testovanie pri zápise do škole), na základe ktorého môže dôjsť k odloženiu nástupu dieťaťa do školy, jeho zaradeniu do prípravných alebo prechodných tried v špeciálnych školách alebo umiestneniu do špeciálnych tried alebo škôl. Jej cieľom je skúmanie súvislosti medzi takýmto testovaním a nadmerným zastúpením rómskych detí v špeciálnom vzdelávaní.Vdokumente sú uvádzané aj postupy, ktoré sa v medzinárodnom meradle osvedčili pri využívaní hodnotenia na integrovanie, a nie na segregovanie detí, aby boli zohľadnené individuálne vzdelávacie potreby rôznych detí. Zároveň mapuje aj potenciálne možnosti na dosiahnutie zmien v tejto oblasti v strednej a východnej Európe.

  • This pilot research study is the first of its kind to explore the experience of Czech and Slovak Roma pupils of attending special or de facto segregated (Roma-only) schools in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, while comparing that to their experience of attending primary or secondary mainstream education in the UK. Although 85 percent of respondents had been previously placed in special schools in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, only a small percentage of the overall cohort of Roma pupils (two to four percent) at the UK schools surveyed were regarded as requiring special education needs due to learning difficulties or disabilities that made it more difficult for them to learn or access education than most children of the same age.

    “The average attainment of Roma pupils (ages 9-15) in numeracy, literacy, and science reported by the primary and secondary school respondents was just below average. The subjects in which the pupils felt they did well included mathematics, physical education, art, science and information communications technologies. In terms of the respondents’ spoken English, 89 percent spoke fluent or almost fluent English. The younger the respondents were when they first came to the UK, the more quickly they were able to speak English fluently.”

  • Už pomnoho generácií sú rómske deti vo východnej Európe nadmerne zaraďované do fakticky segregovaných alebo špeciálnych škôl pre deti smentálnympostihnutím. Za túto prax bolo Česko aj Slovensko opakovane kritizované rozličnýmimedzinárodnými inštitúciami, organizáciami, Európskou komisiou a vládou Spojených štátov amerických. V novembri 2007 Európsky súd pre ľudské práva rozhodol v prípade D.H. a ostatní voči Českej republike (ďalej „D.H.“), pričomzistil, že neproporcionálne zaraďovanie rómskych žiakov do špeciálnych škôl bez objektívneho a primeraného odôvodnenia viedlo k nezákonnej nepriamej diskriminácii porušujúcej Európsky dohovor o ľudských právach. Vo svojomrozsudku súd požaduje, aby Česká republika prijala opatrenia na ukončenie diskriminácie Rómov vo vzdelávacomsystéme.

  • The aim of the study is to analyze successful activities that seek to improve the situation of Roma in these Member States in the thematic areas of nondiscrimination and equality policies, education, employment and training, health care services, housing and gender equality. Instead of examining the social exclusion and discrimination of Roma communities in Europe, the report aims to provide a roadmap of successful practices in order to promote the exchange of knowledge and good practice. The lessons learned in the study are meant to be transferred to other communities and countries provided adequate evaluation, documentation and consideration of local conditions are taken into account.

  • This working paper is intended to serve as a resource for governments in Central and Eastern Europe as they consider whether to introduce conditional cash transfers (CCTs) for education as a tool to reduce the gap in educational outcomes between Roma and non-Roma. The document aims to assess the extent to which conditional cash transfer programs have contributed to reducing educational outcomes between Roma and non-Roma in Central and Eastern Europe.

  • The segregation of Roma students in Central and Eastern Europe is a widely documented practice which has had detrimental effects of child development and educational attainment. The research examines the impact of the educational integration of Roma students in primary school and the subsequent effects to their skills development.

  • The purpose of this study is to quantify the representation of Roma in special education for children with mental disability in Slovakia and to analyze the factors accounting for this level of representation. Providing concrete and empirical data will allow policy makers and civil society to address the situation and contribute to reducing the gap in education outcomes between Roma and non-Roma. The research found that approximately 60 percent of children in special schools in Slovakia in the 2008–2009 school year were Roma.

  • Cieľom tohto výskumu je kvantifikovať zastúpenie Rómov v špeciálnom vzdelávaní detí s mentálnym postihnutím na Slovensku a analyzovať faktory, ktoré ho ovplyvňujú. Týmto spôsobom sa štúdia snaží poskytnúť politikom a občianskej spoločnosti na Slovensku, ako aj príslušným medzinárodným organizáciám korektný empirický základ pre prijatie opatrení zameraných na zmenšenie rozdielov vo vzdelávacích výsledkoch Rómov a nerómov.

  • The official policy of the Bulgarian government on the desegregation of Roma education in the years following the adoption of the Framework Program for Equal Integration of Roma in Bulgarian Society in April 1999 has roved between political commitments and practices, words and actions. The desegregation process is undergoing a gradual and steady development which, to a large extent, is possible due to the commitment and enthusiasm of the non-governmental Roma organizations implementing the projects. This report presents the results from the progress survey of non-governmental projects for desegregation of Roma education in Bulgaria, conducted by a team of experts with the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee for the Roma Education Fund in the period of September to December 2007.

  • Extracurricular study groups have been operating in Hungary for more than ten years. Initially developed and ran by NGOs, the extracurricular study groups aimed to support the ‘neglected’ pupils of Hungarian public education, and more specific the multiple disadvantaged pupils: “such an institution that fosters the schooling success of multiple disadvantaged and Roma pupils and so improving their future chances in the labor market and social integration.”

  • Tanoda-típusú programok több mint tíz éve működnek Magyarországon. A kezdetben civil szervezetek által életre hívott kezdeményezések a magyar közoktatás által „elhanyagolt” tanulói réteg, a halmozottan hátrányos helyzetű tanulók, támogatására jöttek létre. A 2005-ben kiadott, a tanodák szervezését szolgáló módszertani segédanyag1 meghatározása értelmében a tanoda „olyan intézmény, amely iskolán kívüli foglalkozás keretében a halmozottan hátrányos helyzetű tanulók, közülük is főként a hátrányos megkülönböztetés miatt még nehezebb helyzetben lévő romák iskolai sikerességét, továbbtanulását kívánja elősegíteni, ezáltal javítva későbbi esélyeiket a munkaerőpiacon való érvényesülésre és a társadalmi integrációra.”

  • Since January 1, 2005, legislation in the Czech Republic was introduced in order to eliminate discrimination and segregation of Romani children in the Czech education system. The legislation was supplemented by several important measures that aimed to foster the educational integration of children from disadvantage background including the use of Romani teaching assistants and preparatory classes. However, research by the European Roma Rights Centre found that Romani children continue to be placed disproportionately into practical primary schools.

  • Conceived in 1992, affirmative action was designed to provide training to social workers of Roma ethnicity and later expanded to the secondary and higher education system. The aim of the report is to understand the effects of the implementation of affirmative action mechanisms and their impact upon beneficiaries and the communities from which they come. In addition to examining the short-term effects on primary stakeholders, the research investigates also the long-term effects on community and society.

  • A tanulmány célja az, hogy megbecsülje a roma gyerekek oktatásába történő extra bbefektetésekből adódó, hosszú távú várható költségvetési nyereséget. Költségvetési bnyereségen a költségvetésbe közvetlenül befolyó pénzösszeget értjük. Az elemzés alapgondolata az, hogy a közpénzek befektetése a roma fiatalok oktatásába pénzügyi értelemben is kifizetődő. A befektetés sikerességének feltétele, hogy kora gyermekkorban történjen. A sikeres befektetések egyben drágák is; ha viszont megfelelő módon hajtják őket végre, a költségeket messze felülmúlja a magasabb adóbevételekből származó haszon.  Ennek a tanulmánynak a célja a sikeres befektetések költségvetési hasznának becslése. Nem vizsgáljuk azt, hogy miként lehet egy ilyen befektetést sikeresen megvalósítani.

  • The education deficit of the Roma population has been well documented in all countries participating in the Decade of Roma Inclusion. This legacy of past exclusionary policies not only contributes to continuing social exclusion but precludes equal participation of Roma in the labor market, perpetuates welfare dependency and dramatically reduces future tax revenues. The report examines the potential additional revenue stream benefits of investing in Roma education in Hungary.