Presentation Title: Roma People Education in Croatia: Between Interculturalism and Invisibility
Presenter: Marija Dejanović
Abstract: Despite the long-time Roma presence in Croatian society, prejudice and discrimination of Roma people are still visible. Even though minorities in Croatia have a right to educational programs on their mother tongue, that right is often not executed to Roma children. Furthermore, there is no educational content linked to Roma culture in school curricula, such as Roma artist, poets and musicians . It can be concluded that, despite the legislative regulations, there is no intercultural education in Croatia, but assimilative model of integrating Roma children. Without the education that would include Roma culture and would be available on Roma language, Roma children are not in position to participate in educational process that would be empowering. Because the process itself is not empowering, it can’t be regarded as transformational neither for the individuals, nor for the society. Because of the fact that Roma people have statistically lower socio-economic status than other populations Croatia, education could be used as the factor that would help the individuals toward vertical mobility. This topic is relevant for discussion about education for democracy and education for equality that are still controversial in Croatia.
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It’s interesting that despite all the differences between different groups of Roma and Gypsies in east/west Europe; between those from former Eastern European countries; between the different experiences of EU membership; between different political stances of Roma (e.g. towards seeking ethnic minority rights or citizenship status). Despite the many differences the experiences of families and education is almost uniformly the same. So for example your description of Croatian experience would be depressingly familiar to many families in the UK.
Looking forward to your presentation.