The introduction of Roma educational mediators is a measure which is recommended in the National Strategy for the Roma in the Republic of Macedonia and is planned as a measure which should be implemented by the Ministry of education and science as a responsibility anticipated in the Action and Operative education plan.
What is the role of the Roma educational mediators? The role of the educational mediator is to provide inclusion of Roma children in the primary education; their integration in the regular primary education; prevention of drop-outs; and facilitated communication between the school, the parents and the community for a successful graduation. The tasks and responsibilities of the mediator are mainly focused towards: work with pupils, collaboration with schools, the local government, the parents, the civil sector and other institutions.
What is the main benefit from the Roma educational mediators? The introduction of the Roma educational mediators in the primary education will contribute to facilitated relations between the school, the parents and the Roma community; increased approach and retention of pupils from the Roma community in primary schools; facilitation and support of the activities regarding the work with Roma pupils inside and outside of the classroom through organization of the free time and the cultural activities, help regarding the homework and preparations for school.
Which are the specific benefits? But, besides the general, there are also specific benefits from the inclusion of the Roma educational mediators. The awareness of the Roma population in Macedonia will be raised in relation to the importance of the education, and also about the opportunities and the access to the educational institutions, the employees in the schools will be sensitized with the specifics and the needs of the Roma population in the educational field. Furthermore, the range of Roma pupils in the primary education will increase, the attendance of Roma pupils will be more regular, the achievements of the Roma pupils will improve, especially in the linguistic and numerical literacy. The drop-out rate between the Roma pupils will be reduced and the confidence and collaboration between the parents and the employees of the schools will be increased. A specific benefit will be the strengthened communication with the institutions and the civil societies, as well as the communication between the Roma pupils and the pupils from other communities. The pupils’ self-confidence will be boosted; the prejudices, stereotypes and discrimination will be reduced, which will lead to reduction of violence and conflicts in the schools. Furthermore, the participation of the parents in the school activities and in the local community will increase, and that will lead to a career development of the mediators into teachers.
Responsibility? The introduction of the Roma educational mediators is a measure which is recommended in the National Strategy for the Roma in the Republic of Macedonia and is planned as a measure which should be implemented by the Ministry of education and science as a responsibility anticipated in the Action and Operative education plan.
Previous experience? Since 2006, the association National Roma Centrum, with support from the Ministry of education and science, began with the implementation of the Campaign for Roma education, financed by the Roma Education Fund Budapest. The mission of the campaign was a complete inclusion of Roma children in regular primary education through improved approach to quality education for Roma pupils and minimization, or elimination, of the drop-out rate of the Roma pupils. At the beginning of the campaign, in January 2006, the activities were conducted in 3 cities (Kumanovo, Skopje and Prilep). After 2 years, the campaign “The key is in your hands” expanded in 15 cities: Kumanovo, Prilep, Skopje, Bitola, Tetovo, Kriva Palanka, Kratovo, Vinica, Kocani, Stip, Gostivar, Kavadarci, Veles, Delcevo and Berovo. The results which were achieved during the implementation of these activities through the campaign show that there is an increased number of Roma pupils included in 1st grade, an increased total number of Roma pupils in primary education, raised rate of motivation and interest of the parents for the education of their children and better achievements of the Roma pupils.