1 European Education ISSN: (Print) (Online) Journal homepage: The Decade of Roma Inclusion: Origins, Actors, and Legacies Christian Brüggemann & Eben Friedman To cite this article: Christian Brüggemann & Eben Friedman (2017) The Decade of Roma Inclusion: Origins, Actors, and Legacies, European Education, 49:1, 1-9, DOI: / To link to this article: Published online: 06 Mar Submit your article to this journal Article views: 1056 View related articles View Crossmark data Citing articles: 1 View citing articles Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at Download by: [ ] Date: 03 January 2018, At: 14:59
2 European Education, 49: 1 9, 2017 Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC ISSN: print/ online DOI: / INTRODUCTION The Decade of Roma Inclusion: Origins, Actors, and Legacies Christian Brüggemann Humboldt University of Berlin Eben Friedman European Centre for Minority Issues Broad lines of argument deployed by international actors for improving the situation of Roma have included promoting human and minority rights; reducing economic costs of Roma exclusion; preventing ethnic conflict; and preventing migration from Eastern to Western Europe. 1 Notwithstanding such considerable variation in the motivations which underlie policies targeting Roma populations, education has consistently occupied a central place. Educational policies and interventions are not only supposed to reduce educational inequalities between Roma and non-roma, but are also meant to improve health, employment, political participation, and other social outcomes. Educational equality between Roma and non-roma is hence perceived both as a value in itself and as a means to offer equal chances in other spheres of life. No other policy area has received as much political attention. The contributions to this issue reflect on developments in educational policy and practice in relation to Roma in the period from 2005 to The choice of time period is not arbitrary, but rather coincides with the duration of the Decade of Roma Inclusion (hereinafter Decade ). 1 On human and minority rights see, for example, European Commission against Racism and Intolerance 1998; Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly 1993; UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2000; UN Commission on Human Rights 1992; and various reports of the European Roma Rights Center. On reducing economic costs of Roma exclusion see, for example, Friedman et al., 2009; Kertesi & Kézdi, 2006; World Bank 2010a, 2010b, On preventing ethnic conflict see e.g., OSCE, 2000; Project on Ethnic Relations 1994, On preventing migration from Eastern to Western Europe see for example Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency 2006; Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation The special issue follows a symposium series on the Decade of Roma Inclusion that took place during the Conference of the Comparative Education Society in Europe (CESE) in Freiburg (2014), the Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) in Washington D.C. and the European Conference on Education Research (ECER) in Budapest (2015).
3 2 BRÜGGEMANN AND FRIEDMAN This introduction accordingly frames the contributions to the special issue by presenting the Decade in context and design, also attempting a preliminary assessment of the Decade s institutional legacies. Following a brief overview of each contribution, the editorial outlines directions for research on the education of Roma in the aftermath of the Decade. THE DECADE OF ROMA INCLUSION The formal decision to establish the Decade was taken at the 2003 conference Roma in an Expanding Europe: Challenges for the Future, which was held in Budapest. The conference was initiated by the World Bank, co-chaired by World Bank president James Wolfensohn and George Soros, the founder of the Open Society Foundations (OSF). A central motive for the Decade was the perceived need to coordinate sporadic efforts toward the integration of Roma on the part of a great diversity of international and national actors. The 2003 conference was attended by over 500 participants, including nine government leaders and many high-level government officials, as well as representatives of international organizations, Roma activists and members of NGOs. An important piece of groundwork for the 2003 conference and Decade initiative was provided by a series of studies coordinated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank (Ivanov et al., 2002; Revenga, Ringold, & Tracy, 2002; Ringold 2000). Mainly relying on cross-country household survey data, such studies provided detailed quantitative information on the living conditions of Roma in Central and Easter Europe pointing to high degrees of inequality and marginalization. The UNDP study Avoiding the Dependency Trap (Ivanov et al., 2002) and the World Bank study Breaking the Poverty Cycle (Ringold, Orenstein, & Wilkens, 2005), the latter being launched in conjunction with the 2003 conference, framed the social plight of Roma communities in CEE in terms of two central images: poverty and welfare dependency (Surdu, 2016). The framing of the situation of Roma as a minority rights issue by other international organizations such as the OSCE or the Council of Europe (Pogány, 2006) was thus supplemented by the framing of the situation of Roma as a development issue. This development turn in international policies targeting the situation of Roma is evident in the conclusions to the 2003 conference (World Bank, 2003) and substantially influenced the Decade structure and activities. Countries participating in the Decade from its founding included Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, (the then-state Union of) Serbia and Montenegro, and Slovakia. Albania joined the Decade in 2008, with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Spain joining in Slovenia, the US, and Norway joined the Decade as observers in 2009, 2012, and 2013, respectively. World Bank and OSF took a leading role in coordinating the Decade providing technical and financial assistance. A significant number of international organizations including the UNDP joined as international partners at the Decade s inception. 3 Additionally, the European Commission participated from the beginning of the Decade as an 3 Other international organization partners were the Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Council of Europe Development Bank, the European Roma Information Office, the European Roma and Travellers Forum, the European Roma Rights Centre.
4 THE DECADE OF ROMA INCLUSION 3 observer. With its establishment in 2005, the Roma Education Fund (REF) also became an international partner of the Decade. Several other international organizations, including three UN agencies, joined later. 4 At the launch of the Decade in early 2005, the prime ministers of the participating governments signed a declaration committing their respective governments to fight discrimination against Roma, close gaps between Roma and non-roma, support the participation of Roma communities and measure progress in this regard (ISC, 2005). Additionally, education, employment, health, and housing were designated as the Decade s priority areas. Discrimination, gender mainstreaming, and poverty, on the other hand, were to be taken into account by participating governments as cross-cutting core issues (ISC, 2005). An International Steering Committee (ISC) consisting of participating governments, international partner organizations, and representatives of Roma civil society was established as main decision making body concerning the Decade. At the 9th ISC Meeting in 2006, it was agreed that a Technical Support Unit for the Decade the Decade Secretariat would be established in Budapest, Hungary financed by OSF as the founder of the Secretariat on behalf of the International Steering Committee. The Decade Secretariat started its operations in early 2008 as the main facilitation body of the Decade. Further, a Decade presidency rotating annually between the governments was entrusted to act as the formal representative of the Decade, host regular ISC meetings and define priorities within the existing framework (ISC, 2005). A Decade Trust Fund financed by the governments and OSF and administered by the World Bank provided a modest amount of funding 5 for international activities under the Decade. In the course of the Decade 28 ISC meetings and 31 thematic workshops took place. The workshops were financed by the trust fund and focused on specific policy areas such as housing, anti-discrimination, or economic empowerment. 6 ISC meetings were organized at least twice per year. Continuous activities included the exchange of information; discussions regarding the strategic directions; presentations of best practices, opinions and research findings; discussions about monitoring and evaluation; information on trust fund budget; reporting on Decade activities, progress and action plans; and overviews about the program of the presidency. Soon after the beginning of the Decade two problems emerged that might be considered as paradigmatic of international policies targeting Roma inclusion. The first problem relates to Roma participation. The Decade recognized the Roma civil society as equally important actor besides governments and international organizations. The Roma civil society was expected to inform Roma communities about the Decade, initiate dialogue on between authorities and Roma communities on the local level, support implementation and monitoring of Decade Action Plans (ISC, 2005). The initial attempt of World Bank and OSI was to mobilize national youth delegates groups that had attended the 2003 conference to represent the Roma civil society (ISC, 2003, Annex 4). 4 International partners joining later were the European Network against Racism, the Forum of European Roma Young People, the International Romani Union, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Children's Fund, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, and the World Health Organization. 5 Additional to OSF funding each government provided an initial contribution of 20,000 USD. The 2014 Decade Fund status report mentions a total contribution of 514,000 USD and a total of 33 financed projects (Jasarevic, 2014). 6 See for an overview.
5 4 BRÜGGEMANN AND FRIEDMAN However, the delegates role as advocates was called into question from within Roma civil society and by government officials, who pointed to delegates inability to represent diverse communities in each country (ISC, 2004a). In addition, Roma youth leaders highlighted missing capacities and resources to ensure broad national and local participation (ISC, 2004b). A second attempt to involve the Roma civil society involved tasking selected Roma activists and researchers with reporting on the progress of the Decade with Roma activists and academics carrying out various monitoring and reporting activities (see Danova, 2008; Haupert, 2007; Kullmann et al., 2013, 2014). A third attempt was the appointment of Roma NGOs as Decade Focal Points in Roma NGOs selected as Decade Focal Points received a modest amount of funding 7 while having a wide range of responsibilities including attending Decade- related events, inform the Decade Secretariat about developments on the national level, disseminating information about the Decade, advocating at national level, and commenting on progress reports provided by the governments. All in all, the Decade was characterized by the extensive involvement of individual Roma experts and Roma NGO representatives in international meetings, research and reporting, but did not achieve broad involvement of local Roma communities. The second problem relates to the promise of accountability. At the 2003 conference World Bank president Wolfensohn described the Decade as a course of action that is visible, a course of action that can be measured, a course of action for which we all will be judged accountable (World Bank, 2003, pp. 8 9). At the center of the Decade were National Decade Actions Plans, drafted by governments supposed to formulate goals, targets and indicators for Roma inclusion and thus allow to monitor progress and to hold governments accountable. Rather than focusing on evaluations of concrete Decade activities the focus was on measuring relative progress in indicators comparing national averages of Roma and non-roma populations. However, governments were hardly able or willing to define adequate indicators. Even in instances where adequate indicators were drafted, no benchmarks and target values were available due to missing data. The Decade indicator working group thus concluded at the 12th ISC meeting 2008 that the Decade faced serious measurement challenges (Ferenc, 2008, see also ISC, 2008). These challenges were no less apparent at the end of the Decade, with the Roma Inclusion Index published in 2015 (Kushen, 2015) providing longitudinal comparisons based on incomparable data sources in an attempt to measure change in the situation of Roma over the course of the Decade. ASSESSING THE DECADE Perhaps not surprisingly, the actual and potential successes and failures of the Decade have been a topic of some debate since before the initiative was launched and the end of the Decade has not brought an end to related debates (see, e.g., Rorke & Usein, 2015). All in all, however, the Decade clearly did not succeed in closing the unacceptable gaps between Roma and the rest of society (ISC, 2005). The small body of statistical data which allow careful comparisons over time suggests that education is the priority area in which the most progress has been made in improving the situation of Roma, relative both to what it was at the beginning of the Decade and to the 7 The 2012 call for Decade Focal Points 2013 mentions a grant ranging from 25,000 to 35,000 USD, the 2013 call a grant ranging from 20,000 to 25,000 USD (Decade Secretariat, 2012, 2013).
6 THE DECADE OF ROMA INCLUSION 5 situation of non-roma (Friedman, 2015). However, even in this area progress was modest. Decade participants concluded that the Decade has failed to make an impact on the daily lives of the majority of Roma. Reasons for this include disproportional resourcing, a lack of enforcement mechanisms, an unclear and insufficient role of Roma representatives, and lack of decision making power of involved government representatives (Decade of Roma Inclusion Secretariat Foundation, 2015, pp. 2 3). Civil society reports seem to be equally skeptical about the Decade s achievements, highlighting in particular that national plans have been drafted but not implemented, that Roma participation in policy making has remained superficial and that local communities were largely not aware of the existence of the Decade (Haupert, 2007; Danova, 2008; Kullmann et al., 2013, 2014). Differences in perspective notwithstanding, most observers seem to agree that high expectations have ultimately brought little observable change at the local level, such that many Roma communities seem simply not to have benefited from the Decade. If the Decade did not succeed in closing gaps between Roma and non-roma, it has been arguably more successful in drawing international institutional attention to and keeping it focused on the situation of Roma. Perhaps the best example of the Decade s success in agenda setting at international level is the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies, which calls on the Member States to approach the integration of Roma in a comprehensive and targeted approach focused explicitly on Roma. Clearly inspired by the Decade, 8 the Framework has adopted the four Decade priority areas expecting member states to draft and report on national strategies calling for goals and benchmarks to measure tangible results (European Commission, 2011, p. 13). Although the transfer of priorities from Decade to EU Framework could be seen as a success of the former initiative, there is no indication that shortcomings of the Decade were systematically taken into account by the EU Framework. The considerable shortcomings in the strategies produced under the EU Framework, even by the five EU member countries participating in the Decade since 2005, suggests a lack of learning from the Decade; strategies produced under the EU Framework are notable for their insufficient approach to measurement and indicators, the absence of budgeting and provisions for making effective use of EU funds, and their little attention to issues of discrimination in general and the multiple discrimination faced by Roma women in particular (Brüggemann & Kling, 2012; Friedman, 2013; Rorke, 2012, 2013). Whereas the EU Framework applies in principle only to EU Member States, a second initiative targets the EU accession candidates (Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey), as well as potential candidates Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. Implemented by the Regional Cooperation Council with funding from the EU and the Open Society Foundations, the initiative Roma Integration 2020 (called Roma Decade 2020 until late in the design stage) presents itself as build[ing] on the achievements of the Decade of Roma Inclusion and in line with the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies and the EU accession process (Regional Cooperation Council, 2016, emphasis in the original). Consistent with this presentation, Roma Integration 2020 s objectives include contribut[ing] to reducing the socio-economic gap between the Roma and non-roma population and strengthen[ing] the institutional obligations of 8 The adoption in the Framework of the four Decade priority areas suggests what the later makes explicit: The Decade for Roma Inclusion has been a strong inspiration for the EU Framework (European Commission, 2014b, 12).
7 6 BRÜGGEMANN AND FRIEDMAN governments to incorporate and deliver specific Roma integration goals (Regional Cooperation Council, 2016). Funding for regional-level policy support and coordination of the initiative in the form of a Roma Decade Secretariat (renamed Roma Integration 2020 Action Team in 2016) through at least 2018 is provided through the EU s Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II; European Commission, 2014a). Further evidence of the attention of international institutions to the situation of Roma beyond the Decade is the continued operation of the Roma Education Fund. Founded as a partnership between OSF and the World Bank, REF has played a central role in the internationalization of Roma education policy and in increasing the levels of funding available for the education of Roma in Central and Southeastern Europe. At the heart of REF s activities as a donor organization are two funding schemes: a grant program emphasizing desegregation and early childhood education in providing support to national- and local-level projects for improving Roma s educational outcomes; and a scholarship program for Roma university students. Between 2008 and the end of the Decade, the grant program approved on average 43 projects and the scholarship program supported on average 1,340 Roma university students per year (Roma Education Fund, 2015, p. 23; 2016, p. 17). Beyond its role as a donor organization, REF acts as regional think tank, advocacy organization and project implementer, supporting NGOs and local governments in accessing EU funding and commissioning research papers and country reports. Although established in the framework of the Decade, REF has developed into an organization administratively independent of both of its founders. THIS ISSUE The articles included in this issue contribute to and extend existing debates about the merits of the Decade of Roma Inclusion by exploring various aspects of approaches to the education of Roma that have been influenced by the Decade in one way or another. The first contribution to the issue also the broadest in geographical scope is Stela Garaz and Simona Torotcoi s examination of how the concentration of Roma university students in some fields of study over others in higher education may affect their ability to find employment after graduation. Supplementing population-level data available from statistics agencies with data on Roma students participating in the scholarship program of the Roma Education Fund in nine countries (including eight participating in the Decade), the authors point to an under-representation of Roma in the fields of study most competitive on EU job markets which risks limiting graduates upward social mobility and thereby compromising attainment of the broader Decade goal of closing gaps between Roma and non-roma. Nafsika Alexiadou and Anders Norberg s analysis of the Swedish Strategy for Roma Inclusion goes beyond the Decade in both space and time: Not only did Sweden not participate in the Decade beyond its founding conference in 2003, but it is also the case that Sweden s Strategy covers the period from 2012 to Nonetheless, the analysis shows how educational goals set in the framework of the Decade and taken up in the EU Framework were translated in the Swedish Strategy. Alexiadou and Norberg s approach thus provides insight into the context within which and the processes by which the Strategy was produced, as well as into how the final Strategy reflects both domestic and international considerations.
8 THE DECADE OF ROMA INCLUSION 7 If tensions between international and national policy commitments figure in Alexiadou and Norberg s analysis, the remaining three contributions to the issue feature various forms of resistance to the project of educational inclusion as a whole. In the article by Jekatyerina Dunajeva as well as the one by Jozef Miškolci, Lucia Kováčová, and Martina Kubánová, such resistance is apparent primarily at the discursive level. Drawing on extended participant observation in Hungary, Dunajeva compares two models of education founded on diametrically opposed views of Roma identity and considers how Roma children respond to these models in classroom settings. In so doing, she provides rich illustrations of a socio-political climate in which support for Roma is often viewed as hostile to non-roma and international agents of change as unwelcome. Whereas, Dunajeva focuses on how the implementation of educational policy is affected by teaching staff s ideas about Roma, Miškolci et al., examine how the construction of the Roma as an object of policy feeds into the formulation of educational policies ostensibly aiming at inclusion. On the basis of an analysis of policy documents on the one hand and focus groups approximating the general public in Slovakia on the other, the authors point to considerable overlap between official and unofficial portrayals of Roma, both of which call for authoritarian paternalism to bring about integration on the terms of the majority population. The two articles thus have in common their attention to how the prospects for inclusion are affected by the ways in which the makers and implementers of educational policy conceptualize Roma as target group. The final contribution to this issue, by Vera Messing, treats the most studied aspect of Roma s educational disdvantage: segregation (see, e.g., Brüggemann, 2011, 2012; Cashman, 2016; Friedman, Kriglerová, Kubánová, & Slosiarik 2009; Kertesi & Kézdi, 2013; Neumann, 2016; O Nions, 2010; Rostas, 2012). Messing adds to the existing research by comparing inter-school and intra-school segregation. Drawing on findings from a comparative research project conducted in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia, Messing analyses the mechanisms of and the experiences of Roma youth in segregated settings. With regard to the latter, Messing reveals important differences between the experiences of Roma youth studying in segregated Roma schools and those of their counterparts placed in segregated classes located within ethnically mixed schools. Taken together, the five articles that comprise this issue make clear that the Decade of Roma Inclusion has played a key role in the institutionalization of policies targeting Roma inclusion in general and Roma education in particular. At the same time, the articles demonstrate that bringing issues of Roma education to and maintaining them on international, national, and local policy agendas is not sufficient to bring about educational inclusion, let alone to secure meaningful commitment to narrowing gaps between Roma and non-roma. Against this ambivalent backdrop, the disconnect between international initiatives and local practices provides an important avenue for future research. Particularly worthy of researcher attention in this regard are unintended consequences of international education policies, including but not limited to reframing and resistance at local level. 9 9 Examples of research along these lines include Levinska and Doubek (2015), Matras, Leggio, and Steel (2015), and Neumann (2016).
9 8 BRÜGGEMANN AND FRIEDMAN REFERENCES Brüggemann, C. (2011). Bildungsarmut in der Slowakei: Wenn Sonderschulen zu ethnisch segregierten Räumen werden [Education poverty in Slovakia: Special schools becoming ethnically segregated education settings]. Tertium Comparationis, 17(2), Brüggemann, C. (2012). Roma Education in Comparative Perspective: Analysis of the UNDP/World Bank/EC Regional Roma Survey Bratislava: United Nations Development Programme. Brüggemann, C., & Kling, J. (2012). Measuring results? Education indicators in Roma integration strategies. Development & Transition, (19), Cashman, L. (2016). New label no progress: institutional racism and the persistent segregation of Romani students in the Czech Republic. Race Ethnicity and Education, Advance online publication. doi: / Danova, S. (Ed.). (2008). Decade Watch: Roma Activists Assess the Progress of the Decade of Roma Inclusion, 2007 Update. Budapest: Createch Ltd. Decade of Roma Inclusion Secretariat Foundation. (2012). Decade Focal Points Call for proposals. Budapest. Decade of Roma Inclusion Secretariat Foundation. (2013). Decade Focal Point Call for proposals. Budapest. Decade of Roma Inclusion Secretariat Foundation. (2015). To be or not to be Roma Decade After 2015? Retrieved from European Commission. (2011). An EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions COM (2011) 173 final. Brussels: Commission of the European Communities. European Commission. (2012). National Roma Integration Strategies: A First Step in the Implementation of the EU Framework. Commission Staff Working Document SWD (2012) 133 final. Brussels: Commission of the European Communities. European Commission. (2014a). Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II) , Multi Country: Roma Decade 2020, Phase 1 ( ). Brussels: Commission of the European Communities. European Commission. (2014b). Report on the Implementation of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies. COM (2014) 209 final. Brussels: Commission of the European Communities. European Commission against Racism and Intolerance. (1998). ECRI General Policy Recommendation No. 3 on Combating Racism and Intolerance against Roma/Gypsies. Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Ferenc, Z. (2008). Indicator Working Group Report prepared by Martin Kahanec & the Indicator Group. Retrieved from Friedman, E. (2015). Assessing Progress under the Decade. In: Rorke, B. and Usein, O. (Eds.) A Lost Decade? Reflections on Roma Inclusion (pp ). Budapest: Decade of Roma Inclusion Secretariat Foundation. Friedman, E., Kriglerová, E. G., Kubánová, M., & Slosiarik, M. (2009). School as Ghetto: Systemic Overrepresentation of Roma in Special Education in Slovakia. Budapest: Roma Education Fund. Friedman, E. (2013). Education in member state submissions unter the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies. Flensburg: European Centre for Minority Issues. Haupert, A. (Ed.). (2007). Decade Watch: Roma Activists Assess the Progress of the Decade of Roma Inclusion, Budapest: Createch Ltd. International Steering Committee. (2004a). Second Meeting of the Roma Decade Steering Committee: Minutes and Summary. Budapest. International Steering Committee. (2004b). Third Meeting of the Roma Decade Steering Committee: Minutes and Summary. Budapest. International Steering Committee. (2005). Decade of Roma Inclusion : Terms of Reference. Bucharest. International Steering Committee. (2008). XII. International Steering Committee Meeting Minutes and Summary. Budapest: Author. Ivanov, A., Csongor, A., Petrova, D., Westholf, D., Kirilov, N., Emigh, R. J., Sechkov, R., & Takach, S. (2002). The Roma in Central and Eastern Europe: Avoiding the Dependency Trap. Bratislava: United Nations Development Programme. Jasarevic, I. (2014). Decade Trust Fund Status Report. Retrieved from _file7_dtf-final-%255Bcompatibility-mode%255D.pdf Kertesi, G., & Kézdi, G. (2006). Expected Long-Term Budgetary Benefits to Roma Education in Hungary. Budapest: Roma Education Fund. Kertesi, G., & Kézdi, G. (2013). School Segregation, School Choice and Educational Policies in 100 Hungarian Towns. Budapest: Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Corvinus University.
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