EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY FOR THE ROMA CHILDREN? LIMITATIONS AND CHALLENGES AHEAD

Christos Parthenis, George Fragoulis

Abstract


The aim in this paper is to examine the school achievement of Roma children drawing from the outcomes of a small case study conducted in a lower secondary school in the Western Suburbs of Athens. Reducing educational inequalities is a key issue in education policy, aiming at promoting equality of opportunity for all children. Roma children are one of the most disadvantaged and marginalized groups in Western societies. In Greece, Roma people experienced an extreme social and educational exclusion of Roma people until the late 90s. During the last two decades, large intervention programs took place, aiming at including Roma children in education. The outcomes of these intervention progammes can be assessed as positive, as they bring and to a large extent retained Roma children in school for the first time, despite the huge difficulties and the resistance of the education communities and the local societies. However, it is argued that these achievements must be seen as only a first step towards enhancing equality of opportunity. The outcomes of this case study show that even in an area in which the most privileged Roma community is located, Roma children still underachieve compared to the non-Roma children. 

 

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Roma children, equality of opportunity, school achievement, intercultural education

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