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  • 1 Pedagogical University of Cracow, Poland
  • | 2 Pedagogical University of Cracow, Poland
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We entered a good road,

What we have been told to do, we will do

We want to settle

And send our children to schools.

The darkness and impurity of hearts will

Then fall from us,

And we will live beautifully

Like any human being…

And the old Gypsies cry.

They remember the old days,

They think about forests, about rivers,

About mountains and fires.

Because old Gypsies

Have hearts like stones.

In the forest they grew and fossilized …

Papusza “Na dobrej drodze”

(“Pre laccho drom”) (“On the good road ”)

[Papusza – Bronisława Wajs (1908–1987) – the first Polish–Romani classic poet and singer]

The aim of the study is to present the current situation of Romani women in Poland and to define their contemporary role in educating the young generation of Romani. An important element of the research comprises the analysis of cultural conditions for the current educational situation of Romani women in Poland. The study used both a diagnostic survey and a questionnaire, which were distributed among the Romani community (Bergitka Roma), which is particularly concentrated in the Lesser Poland Province, the region with the largest Romani population in Poland. In addition, numerous interviews have been conducted with Romani assistants at schools. The objective of the given research has been focused upon questioning the stereotypes concerning the secondary role of women in Romani communities. The analytical attention has also been focused upon showing the increasing role of women in education and the education of the new generation of the Romani as well as indicating that the fate of subsequent generations of the Romani depends upon their involvement of women in the education of their children. The research results show that an increasing number of Romani women do indeed encourage their children to participate in school activities, regularly send children to school, have positive opinions of teachers’ work, and support them. Over half of the surveyed women endorse the importance of preschool education and send their children to kindergarten, which should be considered an immense change. The research and their results are in fact a positive testimony to the changes and a growing openness of the Romani community of Bergitka Roma group toward the education of next generations.

Abstract

We entered a good road,

What we have been told to do, we will do

We want to settle

And send our children to schools.

The darkness and impurity of hearts will

Then fall from us,

And we will live beautifully

Like any human being…

And the old Gypsies cry.

They remember the old days,

They think about forests, about rivers,

About mountains and fires.

Because old Gypsies

Have hearts like stones.

In the forest they grew and fossilized …

Papusza “Na dobrej drodze”

(“Pre laccho drom”) (“On the good road ”)

[Papusza – Bronisława Wajs (1908–1987) – the first Polish–Romani classic poet and singer]

The aim of the study is to present the current situation of Romani women in Poland and to define their contemporary role in educating the young generation of Romani. An important element of the research comprises the analysis of cultural conditions for the current educational situation of Romani women in Poland. The study used both a diagnostic survey and a questionnaire, which were distributed among the Romani community (Bergitka Roma), which is particularly concentrated in the Lesser Poland Province, the region with the largest Romani population in Poland. In addition, numerous interviews have been conducted with Romani assistants at schools. The objective of the given research has been focused upon questioning the stereotypes concerning the secondary role of women in Romani communities. The analytical attention has also been focused upon showing the increasing role of women in education and the education of the new generation of the Romani as well as indicating that the fate of subsequent generations of the Romani depends upon their involvement of women in the education of their children. The research results show that an increasing number of Romani women do indeed encourage their children to participate in school activities, regularly send children to school, have positive opinions of teachers’ work, and support them. Over half of the surveyed women endorse the importance of preschool education and send their children to kindergarten, which should be considered an immense change. The research and their results are in fact a positive testimony to the changes and a growing openness of the Romani community of Bergitka Roma group toward the education of next generations.

Introduction

The social hierarchy in the Romani community situates women in an evidently lower position than men. The traditional division of duties between a woman and a man in a typical Romani family has offered her a wide range of chores, although they have invariably been limited to functions of both a mother and a wife (Nowicka, 2007). Contemporary Romani in Poland – in particular those belonging to the Bergitka Roma group living in the south – are less restrictive in observing numerous Romani principles related to women (e.g., purity principles). In these communities, Romani women are no longer required to wear long skirts; they marry later and they more often work professionally, performing jobs which were “forbidden” in the past.

The role of women in Romani communities, regardless of how traditional their particular Romani group is, has always been significant. In truth, women have always taken care of children who are deemed the highest value in Romani families. One Gypsy proverbs says: “A lot of children – a lot of luck” (Ficowski, 1985), the Polish one in turn says: “Enjoy like a Gypsy with a child” (Lubecka, 2005). Nowadays, the motherly role of Romani women and their decisive role concerning the issues of raising children take on an additional meaning. Education similarly includes education of children, including formal education in the Polish education system. Education is a decisive factor for the future of the next generations of Romani and one of the most important components of their standard of living (Świętek, 2016b). The fate of subsequent generations of Romani is therefore in the hands of women.

The subject of the authors’ article is the education of Romani women in Poland and the role they play in educating the young generation of Romani. The objectives of the paper are as follows:

  1. determination of the cultural determinants of the educational situation of Romani women in Poland,
  2. determination of the educational situation of Romani women in Poland, and
  3. defining the role that Romani women play in the education of Romani children.

To achieve those objectives, the authors used the results of the literature analysis of the subject (Adamczyk, 2011; Jakimik & Gierliński, 2009; Królikowska, 2011; Leśniak, 2009; Lubińska-Bogacka, 2015; Nowicka, 2007; Prokop & Mach, 2016; Staniszewski, 2004) and the results of empirical research carried out among Romani women by Świętek (2016a, 2016b) using the diagnostic survey method.

Empirical research was carried out by Świętek in 2013 in eight towns in the Lesser Poland Province (as part of the study of the standard of living of the Romani), the region most often inhabited by Romani in Poland. In their course, with the help of an interview questionnaire, Świętek conducted in-depth interviews with Romani women in their places of residence: Czarny Dunajec, Czarna Góra, Krośnica, Limanowa, Maruszyna, Maszkowice, Nowy Sącz, and Ochotnica Dolna. Romani women came from various areas, such as a village, a medium-sized town, and a large city. In total, interviews were conducted with 45 Romani women aged between 19 and 63 years. The most represented group was women aged 31–40 years – in total 25 women. Other age groups were definitely less numerous. Among them were seven women aged 19–30 years, eight women aged 41–50 years, and five women aged 51–63 years. The average age of the surveyed women was 38 years of age. The deliberate selection of the research sample made it possible to capture the educational situation and attitudes toward education of women who were mostly at the peak of their productive age, which was particularly important for considering the role of women in the education of the young generation (these were mothers of either preschool or school-age children). The family situation of the surveyed women was also significant. Among them, only two people were singles and only three did not have children. The average number of children owned by the surveyed women was 3.8. Out of 45 surveyed women, 39 were married and have children. In addition, the second type of diagnostic survey was an interview with Romani assistants. In-depth interviews were conducted with seven assistants from: Czarny Dunajec, Czarna Góra, Kraków, Krościenko nad Dunajcem, Limanowa, Ochotnica Dolna, and Szaflary. The research was carried out at schools – workplaces of assistants in 2013.

Despite exceptionally extensive literature on the subject matter of the Romani in Poland, there are very few studies that addressed the issue of Romani women. A few of those published in recent years include the studies conducted by Jakimik and Gierliński (2009) and Adamczyk (2011). The situation of woman is presented in many publications but mainly in relation to Romani traditions and customs (Bartosz, 2004). Although Prokop and Mach (2016) addressed about the situation of the Romani both in Poland and the Czech Republic concerning many social and educational conditions, there is no reference in their publication to the role and situation of Romani women.

Cultural Determinants of the Professional and Educational Situation of Romani Women in Poland

A variety of myths have arisen in Polish society regarding the place and role of women in the Romani community (Królikowska, 2011). On one hand, there is a very positive reception defining the Romani woman as a person endowed with an extraordinary beauty with a characteristic multicolored outfit who displays outstanding dancing skills and is most often surrounded by a group of happy, despite noisy, children. Unfortunately, there is also another, pejorative stereotype, describing a Romani woman as a fairy and frequently thief whose presence is shrouded by magic and fear. Observing the Romani society, one can get the impression that a woman plays a secondary or servile role to her husband. In addition, she is dominated and ill-treated by her spouse (Adamczyk, 2011). This mistreatment of Romani women reinforces existing stereotypes. In order to thoroughly analyze the situation of women in the Romani community, it is necessary to study the habits of individual Romani groups living in Poland in detail. It is thus necessary to attempt to assess the situation of women in a given group, although one should be aware of the fact that within these groups the situation may also differ.

The following Romani groups currently live in Poland: the Polska Roma, the Carpathian Roma (Bergitka Roma), Lovara, and Kalderari. Some researchers also include the Sinti (Jakimik & Gierliński, 2009). A good example of the situation of Romani women in the Romani community is the tradition of entering into marriages, which differ the groups. Marriages are concluded in three ways in traditional Polska Roma and Sinti groups:

  1. through matchmaking, when parents decide on behalf of the youngsters;
  2. as an independent decision made by the couple (young people run away, but return later in order to have the community’s acknowledgement that the relationship has been legalized and accepted); and
  3. by kidnapping, forced abduction, and even rape (nowadays, these are less common situations; Jakimik & Gierliński, 2009).

In the Polska Roma, in line with the customary law, sexual intercourse indicates consummates and legitimizes marriage. Extremely young bridal couples in the Roma community are not hidden from the public, as is the case in Polish families as well, and are seen as a cause for grand celebration. One should also pay attention to another fact. Historically and sociologically, marriages between very young members of the community clearly indicate the desire to preserve the group as a nation stigmatized by extermination in the past and a short-life expectancy (about 30 years, high mortality rates among children and adults). A girl is believed to have become a mother once she reaches sexual maturity.

Lovara and Kalderari have described the custom – deeply rooted in the 19th century tradition – still observed in the majority of Romani families within this Romani group – of buying a wife (Jakimik & Gierliński, 2009). The process began when the parents and matchmakers of a groom would visit the parents of the bride, opening a negotiation began. There was also the custom of checking the sheets during the wedding celebration, after the bride and groom went to a separate room to consume the relationship. If the bride was not a virgin (and the groom’s family did not accept this), a refund was possible as compensation for the fraud. Grooms and their families would sometimes accept a bride whose sexual purity was questioned (Jakimik & Gierliński, 2009).

Bergitka Roma have been pursuing a settled way of life and have taken over traditions from their neighbors in the Subcarpathia Region (the Gorals) as well as interacting more often with Gadio (not Romani). It should also be noted that nowadays the education of Romani people is helping to slowly but steadily raise the age of when Romani marry. There are, however, still cases of 15-year-old Romani brides being pressured into early marriages. Just like in a non-Romani society, a woman has a specific position and a social role to fulfill. Romani children up to the age of 10–12 years old are allowed to live free and easy-going lives. It is similarly visible in the education of Romani children. Romani parents do not make their children attend schools, accepting trivial causes of their children’s absences (Świętek, 2016b). However, after reaching a certain age (about 12 years), the young Romani change their behavior, new responsibilities appear, as well as new clothing, which must conform to the customary law and prepare for the role of a future mother, wife, and a housekeeper (Adamczyk, 2011). When sexual maturity is reached, i.e., from the first menstruation, the family makes sure that the girl is treated in accordance with the principles of patywali romni according to which a woman is obliged to take care of her reputation, acting with dignity (Bartosz, 2004). A young Romani has to build up her reputation from the time of her childhood by means of her behavior (opinion of a good daughter, a wife candidate, then a wife, and a mother). Her teachers are members of her closest family: mother, aunts, and older sisters (Jakimik & Gierliński, 2009). A Romani is the pride of the whole family; she is also her family pride. During public discussions, a Romani’s voice is most significant.

The myth of treating Romani women as slaves by their husbands is very harmful. The role of a housekeeper fulfilled by Romani women is deeply rooted in tradition; they do not feel enslaved by it whatsoever. The customary law offers a powerful tool to fight with women maltreatment: defilement of an indecent Romani. Defilement also causes, apart from a public condemnation, either temporary or permanent exclusion from the Romani community, which for the Romani can be disastrous because at this time his relationship with another woman shall not be accepted. But one can ask the question: is the concept of equal rights a guarantee of respect? It often happens that the fact of sitting at separate tables is given as an example of discrimination. Usually, when alcohol is consumed, men and women sit at separate tables. In other cases, this separation is not justified. Most often, Phure Daja – the mother of the family feasts with other women willingly, as Jakimik and Gierliński (2009) indicated in their study.

The Bergitka Romani enjoy the highest level of freedom, the least Lovara and Kalderari. However, their roles are similar and only their husbands’ attitude toward women and parents-in-law changes (Adamczyk, 2011). Some traditional Romani customs and views may act as a hindrance to an implementation of compulsory education with Romani children. For example, a school makes it impossible to implement the principle of group control over children, in particular over girls. Romani girls attend Polish state coeducational schools (see Figure 1). According to Romani principles, adolescent girls become women after their first menstrual periods and their goal should be getting married. Up to the time of marrying, Romani girls must remain “chaste,” for the state of which the group is responsible. In a Polish coeducational school, proper group control is impossible, and the “purity” of Romani girls is at risk, which can have catastrophic consequences for them. Even the mere suspicions of “impurity” can prevent a girl from marrying a Romani man and will stop her from beginning a family (Staniszewski, 2004). In traditional communities, Romani girls often leave schools as they fear of being accused of impurity, kidnapping by Gypsy, or most often – getting married or getting pregnant early (Kwadrans, 2007; Osuch & Dwojak, 2009). If, however, parents agree to the further education of their daughter, she cannot actively participate in physical education classes. This is connected with the Romani tradition, according to which women are not allowed to show their legs because they belong to an impure zone. Serious restrictions also apply to the activities and forms of spending free time with their peers. Girls cannot go to the beach or a swimming pool because presence in these places requires revealing many parts of the body, which is a serious violation of Romani principles and cannot be associated with sexuality (Adamczyk, 2011).

Educational and Vocational Situation of Romani Women in Poland

The culture of Romani families does not place much importance on formal education as part of the process of preparing a Romani woman for adult life. Until recently, as Nowicka (2007) asserts, many adult Romani have not fully appreciated the importance of education and educational ambitions for their children are very limited: “to learn to write, sign, read something, e.g. a newspaper, it is enough” (Osuch & Dwojak, 2009). Therefore, there is a very low level of education of Romani in Poland, including Romani women. Among Romani women surveyed in the Lesser Poland Province, as many as 40% do not have any education. Five of them honestly admitted in interviews that they cannot read or write. Among the surveyed women, the most, that is number of 22, defined their highest level of education as primary (49%). Some, however, emphasized that they did not finish the last grades of a primary school (currently a junior secondary school), which means that it is not technically possible to say that they have basic education. Among the surveyed women, two completed a vocational school and two a secondary school (a technical high school). On account of this, they perform the profession of a confectioner. Only one female research participant had a university degree. Women asked about the degree of satisfaction with their education corresponded mostly to expectations of the authors (namely, satisfaction of those with a higher level of education and dissatisfaction of those with the lowest level of their education). Five women with slightly higher education than a basic one were satisfied with their education. People who had basic education or did not have it at all were dissatisfied with their education. Only one woman among the respondents who received no formal education said that she was satisfied with her level of education, because – as she stated – it was unnecessary to her. In order to gain qualifications, some women participated in additional courses organized for free by local municipal or city offices. In this way, several women were able to obtain a driving license and a few participated in professional courses: cookery, floristry, and caring for the disabled. The results of research on women’s education among Bergitka Roma correspond with earlier results of research conducted by Adamczyk (2011), who reported that only 40% of Romani graduated from a primary school, and 51% “stopped” in the fourth or fifth grade of a primary school, and the author drew on the results of Polish Census of 2002.

The results of research conducted by Świętek (2016a) in the Lesser Poland Province indicate that the vast majority of Romani women does not work professionally. Out of 45 surveyed women of working age, only nine women in eight cities (20%) worked. Are they in truth non-working people? Nothing could be more wrong – Romani women typically do the housework due to the traditions of most Romani families. Worldwide research shows that women are paid for only 33% of their work, whereas 75% of work done by men is paid work (Lubińska-Bogacka, 2015). Women’s housework is of great importance not only from a social but also from an economic point of view, as evidenced by the results of the 1992–2002 research carried out under the United Nations Development Program. Women’s work in the field of housekeeping includes many forms, among which the following should be mentioned as basic ones: care of children and care of adults in need (mainly sick and elderly), preparing meals, cleaning, doing shopping, washing, and ironing (Królikowska, 2011, p. 391). These activities, if they were provided by women on the labor market, would be performed for a specific, considerable salary. Unpaid work of women for households causes a significant increase in gross domestic product in some countries (including Poland), even 40% (Lubińska-Bogacka, 2015). Romani women mostly have a traditional approach to their family role. In Romani marriages, the division of duties between woman and man is visible. A woman has a clearly lower position in the social hierarchy than a man. Her role in life is mainly focused on fulfilling the duties of a mother, a wife, and a housewife (Nowicka, 2007). Due to the large number of children in Romani families, Romani women rarely undertake paid work. Keeping the home and taking care of the children consume so much time and energy that working outside the household is not desirable for adult Romani women, as long as the husband provides the family with a fairly reasonable income (Roma book, p. 29). However, this approach has been changing in recent years. Professional activation of Romani (including Romani women) has been noticeable, despite the very low level of their education and their stereotypical image (Świętek, 2016a). In some countries, however, such attempts have been undertaken with greater effectiveness than in Poland. A fascinating example of an activation of professional Romani women could be observed in Austria in the city of Oberwart (Osuch, 2008). The authorities and the Oberwart community, wanting to help the Romani minority after the 1995 terrorist attack, in which four Romani were killed, opened a company employing over a dozen of Romani women. The company cooperated with the Austrian Caritas and segregated, washed and ironed second-hand clothing, and sold it in second-hand stores. Despite part-time employment, good payroll conditions, large work automation, and social security (frequent coffee breaks, employment of a kindergarten child custodian in a small, and free kindergarten nursery), women employed there reluctantly performed their work. One could get the impression that independent work in perfectly created conditions, also in full social security, is not conducive to the tradition of maintaining family contacts of Romani women and does not meet the expectations (Osuch, 2008). The aforementioned example of supporting the Romani community in Austria is not typical for Poland. There are examples of local activation of the Romani community, but only with regard to smaller enterprises, e.g., running the Romani restaurant in Tarnow, serving dishes typical of the Romani cuisine. The restaurant, however, went bankrupt.

With an increase in education, Romani women, especially those living in big cities, reveal higher and higher professional aspirations. Therefore, it should be expected that in groups less strictly adhering to the Romani rules of conduct (as in the Bergitka Roma group in southern Poland), one can expect an increase in equality within Romani families, as evidenced by the individual cases of educated Romani women in the Lesser Poland Province. In addition to ambitions of women, an increase in employment is also forced by a difficult economic situation of Romani families. The nationwide data contained in the 2012 Government Report on the Situation of Roma Community in Poland indicate that the unemployment rate among all Romani (women and men) in Poland in 2012 was between 80% and 100% depending on the province. The lowest was in the Lesser Poland Province and amounted to just 80%. Moreover, unemployment among the Romani minority is long-term and, in some measure, hereditary. Leśniak’s (2009) research results on the Romani community in 2001 indicate that the number of “non-working” people (as the author described it), among the Lesser Poland Romani, amounted to as much as 78.7%.

The Role of Romani Women in the Education of the Young Generation

The control that Romani women exercise over education, including the education of children, means that it is to a large extent up to them what sort of education will be gained by successive generations of Romani children and what their level and quality of life will be as a result. Direct interviews with Romani women demonstrate their considerable awareness of both the need to support their children in education and the importance of education in their adult life (Figures 2 and 3).

Figure 1.
Figure 1.

The Polish–Romani integration class in Maszkowice. Source: Świętek, 2013 (the photo taken by courtesy of the school that has parents’ consent of the presented children)

Citation: Hungarian Educational Research Journal HERJ 9, 1; 10.1556/063.9.2019.1.4

Figure 2.
Figure 2.

The number of surveyed Romani women who are content with (%). Source: Świętek, 2016b

Citation: Hungarian Educational Research Journal HERJ 9, 1; 10.1556/063.9.2019.1.4

Figure 3.
Figure 3.

The number of surveyed Romani women who (%). Source: Świętek, 2016b

Citation: Hungarian Educational Research Journal HERJ 9, 1; 10.1556/063.9.2019.1.4

The following conclusions can be drawn on the basis of the research conducted in the Bergitka Roma group (Świętek, 2016b):

  1. the vast majority of Romani women encourage their children to learn at school (82%), and they regularly send their children to school (76%);
  2. Romani women make sure that their children are provided with the necessary equipment at school (80%), although it should be noted that for the women “care” does not always mean that they buy the necessary equipment, but they know how to obtain it and who is responsible for providing it;
  3. more than half of the surveyed Romani women help their children learn – it should be treated as a positive change, since over a dozen years ago this assistance was almost exclusively done by Romani assistants or supporting teachers;
  4. more than half of the respondents send their children to kindergarten and recognize the opportunity of developing their children from an early age;
  5. teachers, support teachers, and other students (generally schools) are being progressively assessed positively by the Romani communities.

Drawing upon the content of the interviews, Romani woman assistants play an important role in educational support of Romani children. According to the assumptions of the Government Program for Romani Community in Poland, they function as links between the Romani and Polish societies; they are similarly initiators of all educational activities and provide help for Romani pupils. The “ideal assistant,” according to opinions of Romani assistants and teachers working with Romani children, should be characterized by: tolerance, patience, empathy, sensitivity, knowledge of Romani language and Romani customs, easiness in establishing contacts, ability to convince others, perseverance, agreeableness, ability to select talents and motivate children to learn, and even a sense of humor (Szoska et al., 2007) (Figures 4 and 5).

Figure 4.
Figure 4.

A Romani assistant at the Romani settlement in Limanowa. Source: Świętek, 2013

Citation: Hungarian Educational Research Journal HERJ 9, 1; 10.1556/063.9.2019.1.4

Figure 5.
Figure 5.

A Romani assistant from Ochotnica Dolna with her pupils. Source: Świętek, 2013

Citation: Hungarian Educational Research Journal HERJ 9, 1; 10.1556/063.9.2019.1.4

On the basis of the conducted research, it can be stated that the vast majority of these competences listed was in fact possessed by Romani assistants. In addition, they also demonstrated organizational skills, being both initiators and organizers of school trips and events. It was due to the help of Romani assistants that most of Romani children went on vacation. It is not uncommon for them to devote their private time to these additional activities. Thanks to their daily attendance in school, Romani assistants are well-known to pupils and teachers as well as school management. Their great help is appreciated by the teaching staff and management of schools. All surveyed head teachers univocally stated that after implementation of the Government Program for the Romani Community, they cannot imagine the Romani children at their schools functioning without the support of Romani assistants who have been given high respect and trust. Romani assistants were able to properly take care of interests of Romani children at school, while bearing in mind the well-being of Polish pupils as well. It should be stated that assistants constitute the largest support for Romani pupils, eagerly helping them regardless of the level of difficulty. Cooperating with teachers, they keep a constant rate of progress achieved by Romani children and determine ways to compensate for possible educational gaps and difficulties. They also deal with solving common educational problems, including alleviating conflicts between children and their peers, while maintaining objectivity in settling disputes (Świętek, 2016b). An important task of assistants is to constantly strengthen the motivation to learn, including help with homework. Consequently, Romani assistants carry out many different tasks, beginning from the serious ones, didactic, and educational and ending with the most prosaic ones, such as help in dressing the youngest and transporting them to and from school. Assistants also have very good contact with Romani parents and they enjoy widespread community respect. Kurek, Osuch, Świętek, and Rachwał (2014) deliberate extensively upon the role of Romani assistants, supporting teachers and the best experiences in Romani education.

Conclusions

The deliberate selection of an appropriate research sample of women, a majority of whom are eligible for work (18–60 years), made it possible to capture the educational situation of Romani and attitudes toward education, which was particularly important for considering the role of women in the education of the young generation (these were mothers of both preschool and school-age children). The research has shown that Romani women are subject of stereotypical treatment in the Romani community dominated by a maltreating husband. Romani women have invariably been taking care of and raising children who are considered the highest priority in Romani families, and nowadays they show a considerable awareness of the need to support their children in formal education. The research conducted has demonstrated that Romani women are those who often perform responsible functions, such as Romani assistants, especially supporting young Romani in many educational, administrative, and organizational activities. On account of these “new responsibilities,” Romani women are highly respected in the Romani community. An improvement in education levels among Romani women, especially those living in big cities, would lead to higher levels of aspirations, both socially and professionally, particularly in communities, which are less traditional and do not strictly adhere to Romani rules of conduct (e.g., Bergitka Romani in southern Poland). This change would lead to greater equality within Romani families. In addition to ambitions of Romani women, an increase in employment will be also forced due to the difficult economic situation of Romani families and high unemployment rates.

About the Authors

WO (Poland), PhD, is an associate professor at Pedagogical University of Cracow, Institute of Geography, Department of Didactics of Geography. He was Born in Cracow and graduated from the Faculty of Geography at the Pedagogical University of Cracow, Associate Professor in the field of social sciences. He is a university lecturer employed in the Didactics of Geography Department, Institute of Geography at the Pedagogical University of Cracow. His major research interests include the field of didactic geography: teacher’s education, teaching practice, geography teacher’s professional competences, key competences, teaching methods, geography curriculum and school books, national and ethnic minority education, local and regional economic development and sustainable development. He is also experienced at working in a European Project Comenius 2, international projects Erasmus and Erasmus + Programme: 2004–2007 – Project CENTIME “From the margin to the centre” – raising interest for minority groups in Europe, 2012–2015 – Transfer of innovation, multilateral projects “Common Goals – Common Ways;” 2014–2017 – “Reaching the Lost Generation,” 2015–2017 “Retail Sector Competencies for all Teachers” (ReCall). At present, Prof. WO is Vice Dean of the Faculty for Geography and Biology at the Pedagogical University of Cracow.

AS (Poland) studied PhD in geography (PhD thesis: Education as an element of the standard of living of the Roma ethnic minority). She was Born in Cracow and graduated from the Faculty of Geography at the Pedagogical University of Cracow. She is a university lecturer employed in the Didactics of Geography Department, Institute of Geography at the Pedagogical University of Cracow. Her major research interests include Roma ethnic minority, national and ethnic minority education, didactic of geography. She is also an author of two scientific monographs on the Roma minority in southern Poland: “The standard of living of Roma in the Lesser Poland voivodeship” and “Education of Roma students in the Lesser Poland voivodeship” based on own research carried out among the Roma community. Experienced at working in Erasmus + Programmes (related to the Roma minority): 2012–2015 – Transfer of innovation, multilateral projects “Common Goals – Common Ways;” 2014–2017 – “Reaching the Lost Generation.”

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  • Kwadrans, Ł. (2007). Charakterystyka sytuacji edukacyjnej Romów w Czechach, Polsce i Słowacji po 1989 roku [Characteristics of the educational situation of the Roma in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia after 1989]. In P. Borka (Ed.), Romowie w Polsce i Europie [The Roma in Poland and Europe] (pp. 233248). Kraków, Poland: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Akademii Pedagogicznej.

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  • Leśniak, M. (2009). Romowie. Bliscy, czy dalecy? Realizacja zadań w ramach Rządowego Programu na Rzecz Społeczności Romskiej w Polsce [The Romani. Close or distant? Implementation of tasks under the Government Program for the Roma Community in Poland]. Kraków, Poland: Krakowskie Towarzystwo Edukacyjne sp. z o.o., Oficyna Wydawnicza AFM.

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  • Lubińska-Bogacka, M. (2015). Sytuacja kobiet na rynku pracy w Polsce [The situation of women on the labour market in Poland]. In M. Lubińska-Bogacka & E. Zawisza (Eds.), Kobieta w Mozaice kulturowej. Tom II Wyzwania społeczno– edukacyjne kobiet w perspektywie międzynarodowej [A woman in a cultural mosaic. Volume II of Socio-educational challenges for women perceived from the international perspective]. Kraków, Poland: Wydawnictwo Scriptum.

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  • Nowicka, E. (2007). Romowie i świat współczesny [The Romani and the contemporary Word]. In P. Borka (Ed.), Romowie w Polsce i Europie [The Roma in Poland and Europe] (pp. 124147). Kraków, Poland: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Akademii Pedagogicznej.

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  • Osuch, W. (2008). Problem aktywizacji społecznej i zawodowej romskiej mniejszości narodowej w Austrii na przykładzie miasta Oberwart [The problem of social and professional activation of the Roma national minority in Austria on the example of the city of Oberwart]. Przedsiębiorczość– Edukacja, 4, 195201.

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  • Osuch, W., & Dwojak, A. (2009). Szkolnictwo mniejszości narodowych w Polsce, ze szczególnym uwzględnieniem Romów małopolskich [Education of national minorities in Poland, with a special emphasis upon the Malopolska Roma]. In Z. Górki & J. Więcław-Michniewskiej (Eds.), Formator Polskiego Towarzystwa Geograficznego Oddział w Krakowie- Badania i podróże naukowe krakowskich geografów, Tom IV [The directory of polish geographical society, Cracow – Research and scientific travels of Cracow geographers, Volume IV]. Kraków, Poland: Polskie Towarzystwo Geograficzne.

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  • Prokop, J., & Mach, E. (2016). Romowie w Polsce i Republice Czeskiej. Aspekty społeczne i edukacyjne [The Romani in Poland and the Czech Republic. Social and educational aspects]. Kraków, Poland: Wydawnictwo scriptun.

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  • Staniszewski, A. (2004). Naznaczeni społecznie – Romów polskich problem i działania edukacyjne [Socially stigmatised – The problems and educational activities of the Polish Romani]. Edukacja Dorosłych, (1–2), 211227.

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  • Szoska-Różycka, E., & Weigl, B. (2008). Asystent edukacji romskiej. Konkurencja czy szansa?. In B. Weigl, & M. Formanowicz (Eds.), Romowie 2007– od edukacji młodego pokolenia do obrazu w polskich mediach (pp. 5261). Warszawa, Poland: Szkoły Wyższej Psychologii Społecznej “Academica”.

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  • Świętek, A. (2013). The programme for the Roma community in Poland as a tool for fighting social exclusion and a way of improving the standard of living of the Romani in lesser Poland province. In P. Frączek (Ed.), Social cohesion in the local and regional dimension – Dilemmas and solutions (pp. 109121). Sanok, Poland: Jan Grodek State University of Applied Sciences in Sanok.

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  • Świętek, A. (2016a). Poziom życia Romów w województwie małopolskim. Prace Monograficzne 761 [The standard of living of the Romani in Lesser Poland Province. Monographic Works 761]. Kraków, Poland: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Pedagogicznego w Krakowie.

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  • Świętek, A. (2016b). Edukacja uczniów romskich w województwie małopolskim. Prace Monograficzne 765 [Education of the Romani students in Lesser Poland Province. Monographic Works 765]. Kraków, Poland: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Pedagogicznego w Krakowie.

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  • Kwadrans, Ł. (2007). Charakterystyka sytuacji edukacyjnej Romów w Czechach, Polsce i Słowacji po 1989 roku [Characteristics of the educational situation of the Roma in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia after 1989]. In P. Borka (Ed.), Romowie w Polsce i Europie [The Roma in Poland and Europe] (pp. 233248). Kraków, Poland: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Akademii Pedagogicznej.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Leśniak, M. (2009). Romowie. Bliscy, czy dalecy? Realizacja zadań w ramach Rządowego Programu na Rzecz Społeczności Romskiej w Polsce [The Romani. Close or distant? Implementation of tasks under the Government Program for the Roma Community in Poland]. Kraków, Poland: Krakowskie Towarzystwo Edukacyjne sp. z o.o., Oficyna Wydawnicza AFM.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lubecka, A. (2005). Culture Identity of Bergitka Roma. Cracow, Wrocław: Cracow Academy Bookstore.

  • Lubińska-Bogacka, M. (2015). Sytuacja kobiet na rynku pracy w Polsce [The situation of women on the labour market in Poland]. In M. Lubińska-Bogacka & E. Zawisza (Eds.), Kobieta w Mozaice kulturowej. Tom II Wyzwania społeczno– edukacyjne kobiet w perspektywie międzynarodowej [A woman in a cultural mosaic. Volume II of Socio-educational challenges for women perceived from the international perspective]. Kraków, Poland: Wydawnictwo Scriptum.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nowicka, E. (2007). Romowie i świat współczesny [The Romani and the contemporary Word]. In P. Borka (Ed.), Romowie w Polsce i Europie [The Roma in Poland and Europe] (pp. 124147). Kraków, Poland: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Akademii Pedagogicznej.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Osuch, W. (2008). Problem aktywizacji społecznej i zawodowej romskiej mniejszości narodowej w Austrii na przykładzie miasta Oberwart [The problem of social and professional activation of the Roma national minority in Austria on the example of the city of Oberwart]. Przedsiębiorczość– Edukacja, 4, 195201.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Osuch, W., & Dwojak, A. (2009). Szkolnictwo mniejszości narodowych w Polsce, ze szczególnym uwzględnieniem Romów małopolskich [Education of national minorities in Poland, with a special emphasis upon the Malopolska Roma]. In Z. Górki & J. Więcław-Michniewskiej (Eds.), Formator Polskiego Towarzystwa Geograficznego Oddział w Krakowie- Badania i podróże naukowe krakowskich geografów, Tom IV [The directory of polish geographical society, Cracow – Research and scientific travels of Cracow geographers, Volume IV]. Kraków, Poland: Polskie Towarzystwo Geograficzne.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Prokop, J., & Mach, E. (2016). Romowie w Polsce i Republice Czeskiej. Aspekty społeczne i edukacyjne [The Romani in Poland and the Czech Republic. Social and educational aspects]. Kraków, Poland: Wydawnictwo scriptun.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Staniszewski, A. (2004). Naznaczeni społecznie – Romów polskich problem i działania edukacyjne [Socially stigmatised – The problems and educational activities of the Polish Romani]. Edukacja Dorosłych, (1–2), 211227.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Szoska-Różycka, E., & Weigl, B. (2008). Asystent edukacji romskiej. Konkurencja czy szansa?. In B. Weigl, & M. Formanowicz (Eds.), Romowie 2007– od edukacji młodego pokolenia do obrazu w polskich mediach (pp. 5261). Warszawa, Poland: Szkoły Wyższej Psychologii Społecznej “Academica”.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Świętek, A. (2013). The programme for the Roma community in Poland as a tool for fighting social exclusion and a way of improving the standard of living of the Romani in lesser Poland province. In P. Frączek (Ed.), Social cohesion in the local and regional dimension – Dilemmas and solutions (pp. 109121). Sanok, Poland: Jan Grodek State University of Applied Sciences in Sanok.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Świętek, A. (2016a). Poziom życia Romów w województwie małopolskim. Prace Monograficzne 761 [The standard of living of the Romani in Lesser Poland Province. Monographic Works 761]. Kraków, Poland: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Pedagogicznego w Krakowie.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Świętek, A. (2016b). Edukacja uczniów romskich w województwie małopolskim. Prace Monograficzne 765 [Education of the Romani students in Lesser Poland Province. Monographic Works 765]. Kraków, Poland: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Pedagogicznego w Krakowie.

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