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Teacher In-Service Training for Roma Inclusion

Extensive population mobility throughout Europe has resulted in the formation of muchmore diverse multicultural societies. European citizens are prompted to accept cultural,ethnic and religious differences. However, racism and xenophobia emerge as majorissues impacting on social stability and coherence. Roma is the largest ethnic minoritygroup found throughout Europe. The Roma people are often characterized as having adistinct culture which is at odds with the dominant culture of the countries they live in.This divide seems to reinforce Roma parents' fears regarding mainstream education. Itis also a known fact that members of the Roma community frequently regard schoolingas a threat to their cultural values and needs and their children's well-being. Schoolattendance rates of Roma children appear low, thus threatening their educationalattainment, participation in the labour market and ability to have a democratic voice. Atthe same time, schools and teachers are often held accountable for their failure tocontribute towards Roma children inclusion in schools and in society at large. Thisproject acknowledges that interactions between educational institutions and the Romacommunity are frequently characterised by a lack of information, misconceptions andstereotypes regarding the role of education or Roma culture. The aim of this project is tofacilitate school and Roma family partnerships in order to establish an environment ofcollaboration and shared goals for children's education. The underlying assumption isthat enhancing teacher awareness of Roma culture and perspectives will lead toincreased participation of Roma parents in their children's education, thus keepingRoma children in mainstream education and the broader community. This will beachieved through teacher training in methods to engage Roma parents as active agentsin their children's education. The project consists of: (1) Assessment of needs ofteachers and Roma families in target schools; (2) Development of a teacher trainingcurriculum aiming at enhancing teacher effectiveness in effectively collaborating withRoma parents and developing action plans at class and/or school level; (3) Provision ofteacher training; (4) Implementation of teacher interventions, resulting from training; and(5) Evaluation of the intervention programmes and the training modules. Theenhancement of teachers' awareness of the Roma culture and involvement of Romaparents in their children's education is expected to impact on Roma inclusion in thebroader community through (a) minimising Roma parents' fears on education as a threatto their cultural values and needs, (b) improving Roma children's educationalattendance and inclusion in mainstream education.
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