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  • 1 University of Hradec Králové, Hradec Králové, , Czech Republic
  • | 2 Charles University, Prague, , Czech Republic
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Abstract

This paper addresses the current educational rights of the Roma community (in the Czech Republic). The aim of the paper is to present the educational system, its advantages and disadvantages and the ways in which the legal system supports educational rights. The second part of the paper focuses on the exercising and negotiation of rights in the contemporary social context. The work is based on ethnographic research conducted since 2005 by the Levínská, Bittnerová, & Doubek team in socially excluded localities. The data analysis is based on the theoretical concept of cognitive anthropology and the cultural models theory (D’Andrare, & Strauss, 1992). Cultural models and the ways in which parents, students and teachers negotiate rights are presented. The tension between rationality and morality (Bateson, 1958) is demonstrated by the models’ endurance; communication, cognitive and material support; and independence. Although the system itself provides equal opportunities, the prospects that education affords are a fundamental problem. One obstacle is racial bias, which influences members of the dominant group. Another significant obstacle is poverty and the costs of higher education, which are beyond the financial capacity of poor families. A third obstacle is knowledge, which is insufficient in excluded localities and poor families, and that families are unable to give students adequate support in navigating the full scope of student responsibilities.

Abstract

This paper addresses the current educational rights of the Roma community (in the Czech Republic). The aim of the paper is to present the educational system, its advantages and disadvantages and the ways in which the legal system supports educational rights. The second part of the paper focuses on the exercising and negotiation of rights in the contemporary social context. The work is based on ethnographic research conducted since 2005 by the Levínská, Bittnerová, & Doubek team in socially excluded localities. The data analysis is based on the theoretical concept of cognitive anthropology and the cultural models theory (D’Andrare, & Strauss, 1992). Cultural models and the ways in which parents, students and teachers negotiate rights are presented. The tension between rationality and morality (Bateson, 1958) is demonstrated by the models’ endurance; communication, cognitive and material support; and independence. Although the system itself provides equal opportunities, the prospects that education affords are a fundamental problem. One obstacle is racial bias, which influences members of the dominant group. Another significant obstacle is poverty and the costs of higher education, which are beyond the financial capacity of poor families. A third obstacle is knowledge, which is insufficient in excluded localities and poor families, and that families are unable to give students adequate support in navigating the full scope of student responsibilities.

Introduction

The aim of the paper is to illustrate the tension in the exercising of human rights that arises in Roma education. We assume that much of the tension does not pertain solely to the Roma but rather that it is a pan-societal phenomenon (Doubek, Levínská, & Bittnerová, 2015). The Roma are a vulnerable group in which the weaknesses of the system, rights and social Ethos are expressed in profound ways. We can apply Gardou’s idea (2012) that students, whether physically disabled or not, are not the problem; instead, they help us identify the problems and instructional methods used by their educators (Kohout-Diaz, Bittnerová, & Levínská, 2018).

The Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms1 may be understood as a framework that sets forth the relationship between the state and citizens, or the state and its inhabitants. It affects the character of many institutions that determine the nature of society and the position of its members. The Charter stipulates the right to education (Chapter Four, Art. 33), which is implemented through the educational system. However, the educational system is set up primarily to accommodate people who are integrated into society. They expect equal access to education as an expression of functional democracy (Walterová, Černý, Greger, & Chvál, 2010). But implementing the educational rights of people living on the margins of society means highlighting equal opportunities. It is no simple matter to uncover the substance of the disadvantage, where the barriers are, and how to overcome them.

For this reason, we seek to consider how educational rights are negotiated in the case of socially excluded Roma and what parameters and cultural models and associated Ethos and Eidos (Bateson, 1958) play a role in these negotiations. We will monitor students or young graduates and their parents, who may have their own experiences with their children’s or their own studies, to show what excluded people face and must overcome to exercise their right to education. Firstly, we will briefly introduce readers to the issue of Roma education in the Czech Republic, secondly we will present the methodology and thirdly we will focus on different models of negotiating educational rights, which we generated through the data analysis.

Education in the Czech Republic

Education in modern society is articulated as a right, and to a certain extent as a responsibility, from which people may be excluded only in extreme cases. Childhood is a decisive stage of life that determines one’s future. This corresponds to the goals that the education system sets forth. School generates human capital and it also contributes to social cohesion (Gellner, 1993). The Czech Republic’s educational policy is influenced by “the concept of an open educational system that responds flexibly to changing educational needs (demand-driven educational system)” (Walterová et al., 2010, p. 17). Its goal is to eliminate inequality that restricts equal access to education or limits the rights of the state’s citizens to education.

Two fundamental manifestations of inequality have appeared and continue to appear in relation to Roma education in the Czech Republic. The first is related to special needs/practical schools, which have metamorphosed into havens or sanctuaries where Roma children have taken refuge for education (Hainšman, 1999; Šotolová, 2008) and the teachers at these schools have become experts in Roma issues (Bittnerová, Doubek, & Levínská, 2011a). The second manifestation of inequality is segregated schools in the vicinity of Roma communities (GAC, s.r.o., 2009; Jarkovská, 2018; Nekorjak, Souralová, & Vomastková, 2011; Obrovská, 2016a, b). Segregated schools develop when children from the dominant group leave a school that is considered to be a Roma or otherwise stigmatized school (EUMC, 2006; Jarkovská, Lišková, & Obrovská, 2015). The pupils who remain at the school are from families that do not have the financial or social capital to transport their children to a different school outside of the neighbourhood. The children who remain in segregated schools lack educational ambitions and positive examples of educational paths (Čada, 2015). Quantitative research confirms that students’ performance is lower than in mainstream schools (Šormová, 2016; Úřad vlády České republiky, Odbor pro sociální začleňování, Agentura, 2019 [Office of the Government of the Czech Republic, Department for Social Inclusion, Agency, 2019]).

Although schools are organized according to geographical areas, families can choose which school their children attend. Therefore, it is not possible to restrict parents from transferring their children to a different elementary school at their discretion (Nekorjak et al., 2011).

Roma parents respond to these educational options in one of two ways. Either they want their children to go to regular schools with non-Roma classmates or, on the contrary, they are apprehensive about the pace of instruction in regular schools and they prefer segregated schools (Souralová, 2008; Bittnerová et al., 2011a; Nekorjak et al., 2011). There are always two motifs at play here: striving for recognition and opportunities in the context of the non-Roma majority population, and thus attaining higher education, or just going with the system and making it through the compulsory schooling supervised by the state with as few problems as possible. The right to education is transformed into an obligation for some (Jarkovská, 2018).

The Czech Republic has a long-developed special needs school system, which on the one hand has integrated many students into the education system and enabled them to complete the educational process successfully. On the other hand, the professional paths it outlined for them were too narrow because special needs secondary schools offered a limited number of fields of study for people requiring special assistance that furthermore did not link up to any subsequent levels of education. Special needs schools lowered Roma children’s prospects in life. Some experts defend the presence of Roma in special needs schools with the argument that Roma are practical and social in nature, but lack abstract thinking (psychologist 1, 2006) and are not sufficiently prepared or mature enough to attend regular schools (school headmaster 1, 2016). The result is that primary schools, educational-psychological counselling centres and Roma parents cooperated in creating a system in which Roma children were transferred to special needs schools without resistance. Following this logic, the state guaranteed that in cases when a child was unable to benefit from a regular primary school, s/he could exercise his or her right to education at a specific type of school (Eurydice, 2020).

The new Education Act No. 561/2004 Coll. no longer uses the term special needs school and renamed schools for children diagnosed with mild mental handicaps as practical schools. The rules governing transfers of children from regular schools to schools with lower educational ambitions are now stricter; i.e. a recommendation from the given school does not suffice but instead a confirmation from a physician or psychologist from an educational-psychological counselling centre or special educational centre is required and the decision must be signed by the parents. Little has changed in practice despite these changes and according to a survey by the Institute for Information on Education (2009 in GAC, s.r.o., 2009) approximately 25% of Roma children are still schooled as mentally disabled children. In contrast, only 2–3% of children from the majority population are schooled as mentally disabled children (GAC, s.r.o., 2009).

Changes in approaches to Roma pupils have been discussed with the professional public and proposals have been put forth by Roma elite. These concepts have been multi-cultural in nature and experts have tried to advocate principles that would guide teachers’ approach to Roma pupils. The foremost points include consideration of the specific cultural characteristics of Roma children (Balvín, 2004, p. 36) and a demand for a change in the relationship to practical schools.

In 2007, the Czech Republic was convicted of discriminating against Roma children in education in the case “D. H. and others versus the Czech Republic” (European Court of Human Rights, 2007). Roma initiated this court case, which the Czech Republic lost. The Strasbourg court inspired the Czech Republic to make many positive legislative changes (including inclusion) and gave rise to pressure to change attitudes towards Roma education, at least at a formal level. However, systemic change took a very long time to introduce, partially due to the frequent turnover in ministers of education and also because the incoming minister Mr. Dobeš (2010–2012; Věcí veřejné (Public Affairs))2 did not continue to pursue the concept put forth by the previous minister Mr. Liška (2007–2009; Zelení (Green Party)). In 2011, Open Society Justice Initiative, Amnesty International and the European Roma Rights Centre, which monitor compliance with human rights, issued a joint proclamation stating that the Czech Republic was failing to adequately implement the court decision (Amnesty international.cz, 2011).

In September 2016, inclusion was initiated in a seemingly headlong manner through the adoption of Decree No. 27/2016 Coll. and practical schools were formally changed to schools or classes for pupils and students with mental, physical, visual or hearing disabilities, severe speech impairments, severe developmental learning disorders, severe development behavioural disorders, multiple disorders or disabilities or autism pursuant to S. 16 (9) of the new Education Act No. 561/2004 Coll. Psychologists in educational-psychological counselling centres are monitored to see what recommendations they issue, and as a result they are careful to ensure that only children who fall into the prescribed IQ range are transferred to these classes and schools. Special needs teachers are not happy with psychologists’ unwillingness to recommend a lower level of education for children with a borderline IQ (psychologist 2, 2017; school headmaster 2, 2017).

Dissatisfaction among special education teachers has several causes. First, they believe that inclusion pushes these students to the margins of the mainstream education system thus excluding them from the transmission of knowledge (they do not learn anything in school). Second, the competences of, and need for, special education teachers are questioned. And third, diagnostics becomes a tool in the competition for students; it has a direct impact on the financing and management of special schools. To a certain extent, it is possible to agree with special education teachers’ opinion that diagnostics does not necessarily take into account a student’s educational needs. However, on the other hand, diagnostics is a culturally conditioned tool and some students have been erroneously transferred (European Court of Human Rights, 2007; Páchová & Rendl, 2013).

From the system perspective, it has become more difficult in recent years to transfer a child or pupil to a school with lower educational goals. However, taking the opposite path is also difficult, i.e. transferring from a school with lower goals to a regular school (Levínská, Bittnerová, & Doubek, 2019)3. Completing the special needs school track does not enable a student to attain a school-leaving exam or pursue subsequent university studies. If a graduate from a special needs school wants to bring his or her professional education up to a fully adequate level, so that s/he can obtain a trade license, for example, s/he must additionally complete regular primary schooling and begin studying at a full-fledged secondary professional vocational school or secondary professional school. The social consequences of choosing an education in the special needs school system are that a large portion of the Roma population is uneducated, and that young people are unable to obtain equal access to the resources necessary for climbing the social ladder.

Educational rights

The right to education encompasses several conditions and paradoxes. The right to education may only be exercised if the individual wants to be educated, considers education to be necessity, or is forced by external conditions to educate him or herself. Primary education through nine years of school, or ten years including preschool, is compulsory. As a rule, children attend school from the age of 5–15; some postpone the beginning of their schooling by one year. Parents are legally responsible for the education of their children with potential criminal sanctions if they fail to ensure the school attendance of their children (Education Act 2004; S. 45, and S. 54, S. 55). A condition of completion of primary education is the successful finishing of all grades, up to the age of 18 (Education Act 2004; S. 45, and S. 54, S. 55).

Education at a state primary school, secondary school or university in the Czech Republic is free, but studying, particularly at a secondary school or university, encompasses associated expenses for learning materials, textbooks, and living away from one’s family home. Students, particularly secondary school and university students, thus represent a burden or more precisely an economic loss for their families.

As mentioned above, families with low economic status have difficulties supporting students. There are essentially three funding sources for education: financial support from parents or other close relatives, scholarships from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MEYS) (support of secondary school pupils; MEYS, 2013–2020) and various foundations that raise money from philanthropists or the MEYS (Levínská et al., 2019), and the students’ own money (earned to help cover study expenses before or during studies).4

One of the indicators of socially excluded localities is the number of social welfare allowances allocated to people living there (Čada, 2015). For socially excluded Roma, social welfare allowances and living on social support are a regular part of life, which is related to their personal life trajectories. According to statistics, 80% of children from excluded localities continue on to apprenticeship schools. More than 70% of children from the dominant population pursue an education with a school-leaving exam (GAC, 2010; Čada, 2015). As soon as they experience a failure, Roma adolescents leave school and start a family (Bittnerová et al., 2011a).

Roma university students are recruited primarily from families with a solid financial-social status, but this is not always the case. In our research, we came across people who had to earn money to pay for their studies and definitely could not rely on support from their families. In fact, on the contrary, they supported or still support their families. Likewise, Fónadová (2014) states that young people from families with high cultural capital and Roma with access to social capital, i.e. social links to the dominant group which helped them navigate through the study programmes offered by different schools and provided possible role models, have managed to use opportunities to further their education and utilize the human capital gained there. She points out that attractive job opportunities open solely to Roma (e.g. Roma broadcasting editor) inspired efforts to gain an education. The promise, or even the performance of specialized activities, led to attainment of higher education.5

Cultural models in education

“I was the happiest child in the world until the age of six. I lived contentedly. Every evening, relatives and other Roma would come over. They would tell stories, and we would play and sing. I could play a guitar even before I turned six. Then I started going to school and for the first time in my life I learned what it was like to be pushed aside. I learnt I was different from the other children. I learnt what it was like to be unhappy. At first, I didn’t understand what it was all about.” (in Balvín, 2004, p. 45, p. 45)

In our research, we identified basic schemes6 shared by the Roma. In the context of our study, they can be understood as circumstances affecting the exercising of the right to education, i.e. the circumstances determining the desire for knowledge, versus the utility of knowledge versus external pressure to get an education. In relation to primary school education, we identified schemes of something that one must get through because school is a place characterized by a fast (unmanageable) pace, poor communication, mean teachers who tread on children, and negative evaluations of children. Therefore, parents appreciated teachers who managed to draw out knowledge from pupils and let pupils discover what they knew. School is also a place of shame where parents as well as children are subjected to supervision and discipline, which they consider disagreeable or even disparaging (Bittnerová et al., 2011a,b).

In families living in social exclusion, there is a discontinuity between family life and school. School is not a positive shared experience in Roma families; it is not perceived as a place where knowledge can be gained and horizons broadened. It is uncommon for Roma families to discuss school lessons. It is inconceivable that a woman might care for her family and study at the same time. Of course, we did meet adult women who were pursuing higher education, but their relatives put pressure on them by questioning their ability to sufficiently care for the family (Levínská & Doubek, 2016). We also encountered situations where women were completing or extending their primary education and sharing the content of the lessons with their children. In contrast to when they were children, this time around they found the things they learned at school interesting (Levínská, 2009). It seems that the discontinuity and mutual exclusion of family and school life is one of the decisive factors in choosing a career.

We believe that the shared schemes are the result of subsistence needs. Family members cannot divide their energy between pursuing a livelihood and studying. There is a moral obligation to share resources and means of subsistence with the family (Hůlová & Steiner, 2006), which is reflected in social recognition (Bittnerová et al., 2011a).

For us as the researchers, it was surprising to see the extent to which the Roma parents were loyal to practical schools and how they perceived these schools as a natural educational path (Levínská, 2008). They considered transferring their children to an educational level with lower ambitions to be practical in terms of running their households and they also perceived the environment in practical schools as friendlier and considered the teachers there as experts who are familiar with Roma issues and can adequately respond to and meet the needs of Roma children. They also saw practical schools as a place where they could avoid conflicts with mean teachers. Some willingly planned to have their children transferred to practical schools, mainly to make sure that their children, and they themselves, would be left in peace (Bittnerová et al., 2011a).

This loyalty to practical schools is connected with the prospects that education offers to Roma pupils. If, after completing the primary compulsory education, pupils from both educational levels come together at the same vocational school anyway, it is unnecessary for them to go through the stress of a regular primary school, where they have none of their closest friends from the community and where the pace of study is pointlessly fast (Bittnerová et al., 2011a). The value of education depends on the opportunities that arise upon its completion. The Roma are sceptical about this. In spite of the education they receive, they still end up at the employment office and become dependent on material need allowances (see below).

The Roma find themselves in a closed circle of special education. Parents who went through the special education system are not able to provide support to their children in their studies. They cannot help them with the subject matter and show them that education is meaningful. It has been seen that the third grade is a turning point in this respect; it is the grade in which the basic grammatical rules of the Czech language are taught. Children repeat the third grade and are transferred to abridged educational programmes (GAC, s.r.o., 2009; Levínská, 2008).

Family as a social network

Although Roma are citizens of the Czech Republic, they do not share the idea that the institutions of the dominant group can be relied upon to help them in a crisis or ensure justice. They do not see social benefits as emergency assistance, but rather as a basic financial resource (Hůlová & Steiner, 2006). Therefore, for members of the Roma community, the family plays a crucial role in ensuring social and material support. When benefits run out, the family is obliged to help. There is a moral obligation between the family and its members: when I have resources, I am obliged to give (Levínská, 2008). However, help must not be overused, i.e. it has its limits (Alice, 2010).

The family is focused on meeting the immediate financial and emotional needs of its members. Although children have a right to education, the issue is confounded by the question of until what age a person is considered to be a child and when s/he ceases to be one. In the Roma community, we find that at the end of primary school, adolescents are no longer perceived as children and they share responsibility for running the household (Bittnerová, Levínská, & Doubek, 2018). It is assumed that after completing compulsory education, young people will focus on the needs of the family and that the family will not have to cover any of his/her expenses. The standard is that s/he registers at the employment office and, if s/he participates in a retraining course, s/he will be granted unemployment benefits.7 Without a retraining course, the family has the same income whether the young person studies or stays at home (Čada, 2015; a manager at People in Need, 2013).

Racism

Understanding the meaningfulness of education and the fact that it is an instrument of social mobility, i.e. that it subsequently increases the quality of life in terms of succeeding in society, is problematic for Roma due to racism, which is both tacitly and openly present in Czech society (Doubek et al., 2015). If a Roma man or a Roma woman (Romni) wants to be successful, s/he needs to have a university degree, because the hiring of people for jobs intended for secondary school graduates is much more subject to hidden racism, which is ubiquitous in Czech society (Sofia, 2017). Roma parents believe that racism plays a bigger role than education in getting a job (Kaleja, 2010).

We repeatedly encountered stories about how a job vacancy was confirmed during a phone call, but when the applicant came and was clearly identified as Roma on the basis of anthropological traits or the colour of skin, s/he was rejected with the explanation that the position had already been filled (e.g. Alan, 2019). Roma find it difficult to rent an apartment outside of ghettoes. In shops, shop assistants monitor Roma customers more closely than other customers. We repeatedly heard Roma claiming that people with a lighter skin colour or blue eyes, who are thus not identified as Roma at first sight, are treated better in society (cf. Goffman, 2003).

The legislation as such, i.e. the legal system governing education and social assistance, is relatively satisfactory, but daily interactions and negotiations of the right to participate in society are demanding and legally unenforceable. The dominant society’s communication is schizophrenic and can be compared to Bateson’s double bind, where the communicating entity sends different messages to the recipient in parallel via two communication channels (Watzlawick, Bavelasová, & don. Jackson, 1999).

The shared cultural model Gypsy exposes a fundamental contradiction in the right to education. According to the Gypsy model it is assumed that the Roma are incompatible with the dominant society, that they do not work, education has no value for them, etc. At the same time, however, the Roma are required to meet the expectations of the dominant society, adapt to its requirements and standards and ideally be invisible (Bittnerová et al., 2011a).

If an individual from the dominant group meets a Roma whom s/he believes meets the standards of the dominant society, the individual considers the Roma as an exception to the rule despite the fact that less than 50% of all Roma live in social exclusion.

Research method

The paper is based on longitudinal ethnographic research conducted by the Levínská, Bittnerová, Doubek team in 2005–2018. The research focused on cultural models in education and in auxiliary professions in social excluded localities (Doubek & Levínská, 2015). In our paper we do not use data from one area only. Instead, we use a multi-sited ethnography approach; i.e. we explore the researched topic in various contexts (Marcus, 1995).

Findings from participant observations and open interviews will be supplemented by semi-structured and open interviews with Roma parents, pupils, students or other people from the Roma community with experience in learning at various levels of the education system and who live both inside and outside excluded areas. The latest interviews were conducted in 2020.

Thanks to recurring research in excluded localities, we identified the basic issues arising in connection with the education of Roma. Through further interviews, we explore the extent to which individual educational paths differ, coincide and how they are influenced. We are gradually saturating our theoretical model of Roma education in the Czech Republic and the goal is to find the crucial points at which tensions arise during exercising of the right to education. In order to maximize the holistic perspective, the expertise of colleagues working and publishing in this subject area will be used in the interpretation of the outcomes.

The data analysis is based on the theory of cultural models. Cultural models are a concept introduced by cognitive anthropology; they are mental constructs acquired during socialization and enculturation. They enable us to orient ourselves in society and understand the meanings of different situations. They motivate us to act in certain ways (D’Andrare, 1982; Doubek, 2011; Strauss & Quinn, 2001). Sometimes, individual cultural models may be in conflict, as Quinn (1992) points out in interviews with American wives – (1) equality, (2) commitments pertaining to the role of a wife, and (3) personal integrity.

Similarly, the terms Ethos and Eidos refer to Bateson’s (1958) internal and simultaneously culturally specific contradictions.

“Ethos is a system of emotional attitudes that controls values attributed by a community to certain satisfactions or frustrations that life circumstances can bring about… Ethos can be well understood as a culturally standardized system of organization of the instincts and emotions of individuals,” (Bateson, 1958, p. 220; Levínská, Bittnerová, & Doubek, 2017, p. 159).

Bateson characterizes the term Eidos as “…a standardization of cognitive aspects of the personality of individuals” (Bateson, 1958, p. 219; Levínská et al., 2017, p. 160). Eidos is a concept that aligns more closely with the original cognitivist concept of “folk models”, i.e. cognitive models as a certain sharing of concepts and means of thinking (Keesing, 1987). The concepts of Ethos/Eidos express the idea that sharing in a culture is not merely summary in nature, but is characterized by a certain integration of the emotional and cognitive levels (centripetal aspect of culture, Strauss & Quinn, 2001, p. 118; Levínská et al., 2017, p. 160).

The right to education in the Roma community

In the presented paper, we explore what forms of support were essential in enabling our respondents to be successful and which obstacles they had to overcome or which they were not able to overcome. We explore how their right to education was fulfilled and how they were able to exercise this right. We explore how their parents, as their legal guardians, secured their right to education.

We focus on the situations of Roma who, after graduating from primary school, continued on to higher types of schools. Thus, we focus on the situation of adolescents, who from the point of view of Roma families, are seen as young adults who should accept responsibility for the family/household (Bittnerová et al., 2018). Based on the inductive data analysis, we identified three schemes that guide parents’ actions in exercising children’s right to education. It should be stressed that this is a right offered by the dominant group which most Roma families in excluded localities understand merely as a form of disciplination by the dominant group. The schemes endurance, support and independence need to be understood in the context of the logic of the schemes relating to education in excluded localities: “and the worst thing about it is that its mandatory,” (Levínská, 2013a, 2013b). The various schemes are determined by Eidos – a particular pragmatism in behaviour and decision-making (financial/material support; cognitive support) and Ethos (moral support, obligations, prospects). The various schemes are complementary. We explore the changes in the relationship between Eidos and Ethos and the tensions which are expressed in the different models.

Endurance

Eidos

Basic characteristics: there is no cognitive, financial or organizational support nor communicative support provided by the teacher.

Ethos

Relationship to school: school does not afford any prospects, don’t give up8, it’s compulsory, it takes too long.

There is no moral support for studying the motif of betraying one’s family appears.

Roma pupils’ advancement to a higher level of schooling is typically associated with the organizational structure of the education system. The primary school agenda, sometimes in collaboration with non-profit organizations (NGOs), motivates Roma pupils and helps them find a field of study and submit required documents. This supports the individual’s right to education. For many Roma pupils and their parents, this step is associated with endurance. They allow themselves to be exposed to the actions of the school. As stated above, many students leave school as soon as problems arise, or are even capable of dropping out just before their final exams because they can no longer take the pressure of education and disciplination (Doubek, 2000).

Parents assume a passive attitude in the endurance scheme. They permit adolescents to educate themselves, but they do not support them morally, financially or organizationally (i.e. communication with the school) and they emphasize their lack of engagement, disinterest and non-support. From the parents’ perspective, education does not provide any prospects or future. Parents use examples of peers who educated themselves pointlessly as arguments, and adolescents repeat them: “Even though he graduated from the vocational school, they never gave him a job,” (a widower and his sons, 2007). Other parents stress the independence of young people and his or her potential to earn money to help cover family outlays (Bella, 2009): “My son would rather work and earn money,” where the fact that the work is temporary or undeclared is not important. Another motif that appears is that girls will have a family soon, so they will not be able to get an education. Sometimes parents put their children down: “You’re stupid, you don’t have what it takes,” (Leo, 2020). Other times their attitudes even contain a fear that their offspring or family members will become distant: “Since you started studying, you won’t even stay and sit for a while, you’re turning into a little lady,” (Alice, 2013; Levínská & Doubek, 2016, cf. also Štech, 1992).

An example of this type of distance between parents and education is the situation of Monika and Pamela, whose right to education was supported by an NGO. In their case the NGO took over practically the entire educational agenda. It paid for their studies, communicated with the school and arranged tutoring. In contrast, their mother clearly declared that she was relinquishing her responsibility, she did not give the girls any moral support to help them manage subjects which they found difficult and she did not put any restrictions on their behaviour so that they would successfully complete school. According to their mother Bella, the NGO should address any complications that might arise. She commented on her daughters’ education as follows: “If the NGO is paying for it, then the girls can go to school.” She also pointed out that all of the girls’ peers already had children. The daughters’ secondary education finally ended in a fiasco. They did not take the school-leaving exams nor did they find partners (at the time of the research in 2011), even though they were over 20 years old (Bittnerová et al., 2011a).9 The cultural model – discontinuity – school or family prevented them from effectively meeting any partners outside of the socially excluded locality during their studies, and thus have a chance to live away from their family.

Another example of endurance is he actions of the relatives who did not attend school-leaving exam celebrations. They did not accept this ritual of transition because they ignored education as a status symbol (Leo, 2020). In the endurance scheme, the scheme of making it through school dominates, getting it over with as soon as possible so that one can live real life, which has nothing to do with education – not being disturbed, fixing up a house or apartment, having a baby, finding some job. A moral obligation to relatives emerges; if an adolescent chooses a different path, we see motifs of betrayal of the family and refusal to accept the obligation in terms of the family’s financial strategies. The endurance scheme does not give adolescents a chance to become independent because, potentially, it conceals a reproach from the family: “what good will it do us”.

The pressures of the dominant society’s standards also appear in the endurance scheme. They are understood as external but simultaneously undeniable; the only possible strategy that may be adopted against them is passive resistance. Studying under the endurance scheme means going against one’s own family. Rebellion against the family can either serve as a motivating factor, as in the case of a young man (Leo, 2020) (although in his case, his mother took on the opposite role as a morally supportive parent), or it may pull the student back to the family and family duties, as was the case with Alice, a field worker (Levínská & Doubek, 2016).

Support

Eidos

Basic characteristics: the parents try to provide some form of support – material, communicative, moral, cognitive, drawing closer to the dominant group.

Ethos

Relationship to school: school facilitates social mobility, moral obligation based on mutual responsibility.

The endurance scheme runs contrary to the support scheme. The support scheme means that one has to take some sort of interest in the child’s education because school affords a chance to be successful. This scheme influences the actions of parents who accept the dominant discourse, not as external pressure but instead view education as an opportunity for their child and the family. They believe in the dominant group’s system and rely on it. As a result, they support the child/adolescent in pursuing an education as best they can. We will discuss the various options and how each is implemented. The different forms of support are not mutually exclusive; they may overlap.

Material support

Eidos

Financial support, communication support, provision of cognitive support.

Ethos

Moral obligation, school provides an opportunity to achieve success.

If they are paying is a moral appeal for students – this principle applies to all students in the Czech Republic.10 Although there is no tuition, regular living expenses and school supplies/equipment must be paid for. Since there are no interest-free loans for students in the Czech Republic, young students need financial support, either from their family or by earning money through a job. Poor people do not, or cannot, accumulate a financial reserve for these purposes. Roma students understand financial support from their parents to be a clear indication of support for education, a sign that parents consider earning a degree important. In addition, paying for school expenses creates a moral obligation, or the realization, that it is not a given and that it can also lead to problems. In poor families, the consequences of the financial burden may be seen more readily:

“My parents paid one half and my grandparents paid the other half, they gave me two thousand and other students got four thousand. After I paid for the dormitory, I didn’t have enough money left to pay for transportation so I had to hitch-hike. …Even though I was extremely frugal, our parents took on a lot of debt that year and it was kind of the last straw that caused them to lose their apartment,” (Sofia, 2017).

Financial support may be related to notions about which subject area the adolescent should study.

“I went to the business school because my Dad wanted me to, but I didn’t like it at all because I’m not exactly the figures or graphs type, since I’m into art, the artistic side of things, I just didn’t really like it there, it really wasn’t for me, but then when I started going to the secondary professional school, it was great, I have great memories of that school,” (Mila, 2020).

Parents’ consideration of a suitable field of study is related to the relatively limited knowledge of the structure of fields of study and they consider their investment to be utilitarian (finding a job on the labour market). “Gabra and I decided she should study to be a cosmetician and massage therapist, because there is a spa here, so she will always be able to find work,” (Alice, 2017). In terms of the breadth of fields of study, the right to education is limited by the life experiences of socially excluded people.

Material support appears only in relatively well-situated families. Parents pay for their children’s schooling if they are able to. The following schemes apply here: When I have resources, I give (Levínská, 2008). Parents who better understand the financing options available also use subsidies and grants to cover the expenses of keeping a student in school. They are capable of developing effective strategies and obtain financial aid from the state or NGOs. Although these subsidies are a way to exercise the right to education, or ensure equal opportunities, Roma encounter criticism from teachers who see the situation from the perspective of the system abuse scheme. Roma parents and students have to be able to defend their right to education (Alice, 2016).

For adolescents whose parents live in poverty or in socially excluded localities, tension between the right to education, moral obligations and self-identification – who I am, why I am educating myself and how my horizons are broadening – appears in clear forms. The right to education intensifies financial insecurity. But at the same time, this step opens a path towards a self-awareness and self-confidence that even I, a stigmatized person, can achieve the status symbols of the dominant group. Investment in education, or funding the right to education, gives Roma students (and other poor people, as mentioned earlier) equal rights and has an implied competitive meaning (we can afford it). The challenge for the dominant group is to stop stigmatizing the Roma.

Communication support

Ethos

Ethos means communication between parents and teachers, negotiating rights, identifying options, suitable recommendations.

Eidos

Parents are there for their children, but children obey their parents, teachers provide appropriate information.

The right to education concerns both children and parents. Parents are responsible for their children’s school attendance and are also directly pulled into the educational process and it is assumed they will be involved. In order for a child to be perceived as a real pupil, his or her family must actively respond to the school’s suggestions.

The basic characteristic of communication support is mutual, engaged communication between teachers, parents and children. Through communication, they all act in accordance with the scheme Roma children are pupils. Parents immediately address any problems that arise (Leo, university student, 25 years old; 2020, Přemysl, 2013). They constantly check to make sure teachers don’t succumb to stereotypes and racism.

In the Roma children are pupils scheme, teachers are perceived as being concerned with children’s success in their school careers (Levínská, 2009, 2013a,b). They can provide moral support to parents through communication if they guide children in the right direction. Teachers are authority figures to whom parents listen. That was the case with Sofia, a woman who had graduated (2017, psychologist). She says:

“My parents didn’t believe that I would graduate from university, that I would be able to make it, they didn’t believe I was that smart, they were smart too, but they weren’t able to achieve anything. Teachers convinced them to not be afraid, they said that I was smart enough to manage university, that I should go to grammar school.”

Despite their doubts, Sofia’s parents supported her in getting an education. By visiting the school, parents obtain necessary information about studying, university entrance exams (Alan, father of a secondary school graduate, 2019, 2020). This strategy is intended to help improve the child’s chances and also help parents navigate through the educational system and understand what it is like to be a pupil. Parents’ actions show that they want to know what their right to education is.

Communication support is related to moral support. Parents give their children the self-confidence that they are pupils and that they can handle their studies. “I want her to graduate, she can do it, she’s smart, and she’s excellent at languages,” (Alan, 2019). Sometimes there is support as well as a dimension of identifying with the offspring’s future: “She has the soul of a field worker like me, I would like her to follow in my footsteps. School didn’t work out for me but hopefully it will for her,” (Alice, 2013).

Communication support is not always successful. The issue is whether the teacher, or the school, respects Roma children as pupils. Alice, the field worker, supported both of her daughters in pursuing an education, communicated with their teachers, arranged tutoring and gave them the opportunity to study despite her difficult financial situation. Despite Alice’s efforts, her elder daughter did not graduate. Her younger daughter Málinka, whom Alice thought would follow in her footsteps, started a two-year limited study programme, and because she wanted to graduate, she went on to a three-year field of study. Neither Málinka nor her mother knew that the second study programme was also an E programme with limited study requirements that does not allow graduates to transfer to a two-year subsequent study programme that finishes with a school-leaving diploma. In 2020, Málinka was nineteen and had earned two apprenticeships. To earn a school-leaving diploma, she would have to go through a regular secondary school from start to finish. But she is currently pregnant, her boyfriend is fixing up their house and they want to just live quietly. In this situation, the teachers did not provide the parents with sufficient information about the consequences of the chosen field of study. Although we don’t have any direct evidence, this lack of fulfilment of educational aspirations could be related to racism. The teachers could have assumed that the trajectory was adequate given that the family was Roma. The right to education would therefore remain unfulfilled due to the dominant group’s biases.

Communication support can be understood in the context of the don’t give up scheme. That means that Roma parents who are aware of what the state offers understand the right to education as a right that they can utilize. Communication with the school may therefore be understood as the conscious effort to not be excluded (cf. Fónadová, 2014).

Moral support

Eidos

Finish school, parents do not need to have any other competencies to provide support.

Ethos

Don’t deny who you are, I have what it takes, you have what it takes, don’t be afraid.

As described above, the right to education is perceived by Roma families and Roma students against the background of social relations. The right to education is subjugated to the demand for social acceptance and solidarity. Sometimes this relationship excludes education, but in other cases, Roma students can see education as a way to express solidarity with the family and to achieve their own social acceptance. In such cases, education acquires a moral dimension and Roma students are given moral support.

Leo (2020) is an example of such a case; he got vocational training as a bricklayer so that he could use his apprenticeship certificate to register his grandfather’s trade. His grandfather could then register his trade without having a formal vocational education. Leo’s girlfriend, who studied at a grammar school, provided further moral support in the sense of “I cannot let myself be dumber than her, less educated than she is, I have what it takes, I will get a full secondary education with a school-leaving exam.” She supported him both morally and cognitively (she tutored him in Czech grammar). His mother supports him in his studies, “she is happy that he is getting an education”. However, she gets upset when Leo does not stand up for Roma in situations where they are unjustifiably insulted (jokes told by classmates, ridiculing stories).

Moral support means not being afraid to study in the dominant society, live outside of a socially excluded locality and withstand ridicule from members of the dominant society without reacting aggressively (Alice, 2020; Leo, 2020) (Fónadová, 2014). Parents who provide moral support accept that bonds to the Roma community, i.e. to a kinship group, will loosen. At the same time, they do not want their children to forsake them. Thus, even in the case of the Roma, the right to education contributes to an individual’s integration into the dominant society.

Cognitive support

Eidos

School is not only a means of social mobility, but knowledge can also be inspiring.

Ethos

Pursue one’s goals, I am smart; I realized I have what it takes; a moral commitment to pass on education.

The right to education can also be understood as the right to knowledge. It is therefore a matter of passing on information that has the potential to develop an individual’s personality and of recognizing this potential as a value that is fulfilled through the educational institutions of the state.

In our research in excluded localities, we rarely found parents who provided cognitive support, i.e. explained the subject matter of school lessons or provided additional information to complement the knowledge acquired in school. It is sad that the parents of today’s university students, who are now in their forties or fifties, do not have a good understanding of the Czech language, a compulsory language of instruction, because they studied at special schools (Leo, 2020). Of course, educated Roma pass on their knowledge (Přemysl, 2013; see Romea.cz, 2016–2019) not only in the context of the dominant culture but as part of the ethnoemancipation process in the context of the minority culture.

Cognitive support is provided by non-profit organizations that arrange tutoring. Organizations can be successful provided that parents give moral support because the organizations themselves do not assert any authoritarian pressure on students; it is the student’s own choice, and parents must encourage the loosening of bonds with the community in order to strengthen links to the dominant group.

Cognitive support can also be provided by teachers. They have the power to influence the direction young people take in life. “In the fifth grade, I met a teacher and she showed me that it’s easy, that I can do it, and I understood that it really is easy,” (Leo, 2020).

Without cognitive support, a young person has no chance of furthering his or her education, as we saw in the case of Alice’s children. It is the task of teachers to provide such support in everyday communication with children and students. Roma who achieved similar academic goals support other students or have become examples to those around them; they see this as a moral commitment to support others on their life journeys (Romea.cz, 2016-2019; Leo, 2020). It is clear that cognitive support also encompasses moral support. However, the moral support provided by the school and non-profit organizations is only secondary. Students and graduates share the schemes my parents did everything they could for me. Educated Roma say that they could not have succeeded without support from at least one of their parents.

Independence

Eidos

School is not just a means of social mobility; knowledge can also be inspiring, knowledge broadens one’s horizons, moral support, financial independence, change in thinking, self-fulfillment.

Ethos

Independence and autonomy, responsibility for oneself, parents must be paid back for their support, they should be lifted out of poverty, stand on one’s own feet, take care of others.

In the independence scheme, all four basic types of support are present in equal measure; the students or graduates were able to obtain or provide lacking support themselves, they became independent and paid back what was provided to them, or took care of those who needed support.

Educated Roma connect independence with a sense of personal responsibility to earn money for one’s studies. Getting legal part-time jobs is a common practice that all respondents mentioned. In addition, they understand getting money for their studies in the context of redistribution of resources within the family. Sofia, who is originally from Slovakia, obtained a student loan, but her sister’s application was rejected. Sofia, who had part-time jobs, provided the money from her loan to her sister (Sofia, 2017). In the course of one year, Leo worked his way up to the position of manager in a Sandwich shop and a year later he began working there part-time to pay for his studies and support his mother (Leo, 2020).

Communication, moral and cognitive support are thus interconnected and Roma students emphasize their individuality in this way, with the family and the community becoming merely the context in which they find themselves.

Independence is associated with talent. This statement is based on the assumption that, in the minds of Roma students, the right to education is open to only a few. This can correspond to the idea that not everyone will be able to (and in fact can’t) break out of exclusion.

“As for school, it was easy for me, I got the best marks without much effort. I always knew I was smart,” (Sofia, 2017).

“I was always good at school. Later I didn’t get why I hadn’t finished school and I started furthering my education,” (Štěpánek, 2014).

Students’ statements about the benefits of education express an awareness of social mobility (and the implicit integration or distantiation from life in exclusion) and emphasize the importance of self-development.

“At first, I did it to be better off financially, but now I see that my thinking and my perspectives are changing, and I am getting an education because of that,” (Leo, 2020).

One of the aspects of the right to education is thus fulfilled here. Knowledge is self-development and the transformation of one’s personality and identity.

“When one becomes educated, it changes a person’s nature, one is no longer what he or she would have been if they had not been educated. After all, when you attend schools, when you are interested in this kind of work… I went to a pedagogical school, we worked with children, I was in an after-school group, I spent time there with teachers and they treated me just like other people. You start to talk differently about certain things, you start using a slightly different language, you start thinking differently than people without an education because they don’t understand it,” (Libuše, 2013).

Independence also means realizing that not every community or part of a community is able to accept this individual change and not in everyone.

Independence means making decisions according to one’s own goals. Education is not only a form of disciplination. Vilma (2020) says: “I hated it when they would tell us: ‚End of discussion!” The educational options are thus not only a matter of self-identification: “I was looking at the education options available and the Faculty of Humanities seemed to be the best fit for me,” (Korina 2020). In relation to the labour market, the right to education means also the right to do what I enjoy, even if it doesn’t earn much money. Vilma, for example, graduated from an art school and her income is irregular, depending on her current job offers.

The independence scheme reveals the essence of the right to education. It guarantees attainment of a specific educational level, a secondary school-leaving certificate, a university degree and the corresponding knowledge, and thus opens access to the labour market. It also represents the emancipation of the individual, which is conditioned by knowledge (cognitive area). The independence scheme also includes a moral commitment to the family. This can take on two forms: assuming responsibility or unintended individual distancing from it. The moral commitment to the family does not have such a strong centripetal force as can be seen in the endurance scheme precisely due to the personality transformation that occurs during the educational process.

Conclusion

In the introduction, we posed the question, what tensions arise in the exercising of human rights in Roma education. We first analysed the educational system and its limits, and then we characterized the tensions in access to education that exist for Roma pupils and their parents. We explored what schemes help Roma secondary school and university students exercise their right to education.

We did not question the educational system as such. We saw it as a tool allowing the state to implement the right to education. The Czech educational system is egalitarian and performance-oriented, which means it does not sufficiently promote equal opportunities in education. However, it does have certain measures at its disposal, at least at the material level, providing Roma pupils with material or cognitive support from the Ministry of Education and Sports, either directly, as in the case of support available under the Support of Roma Secondary-School Pupils programme, or through non-profit organizations such as Romea.cz or the Open Society Fund which support Roma in obtaining a university education. If a student is able to navigate through the system, mostly thanks to the communication skills of his or her parents and information provided by non-profit organizations, then it is not a problem for him or her to obtain support.

Tensions in the exercising of the right to education result from the cultural models/schemes of the dominant group, which are motivated by racism and which are not subject to any reflection, e.g. education has no value for the Roma. Moreover, the dominant group assumes that education has an a priori value, without acknowledging that its value depends on the context and life story of each individual (Štech, 1992).

Roma pupils and their families must first and foremost adopt a life story model that the dominant group understands as standard. If this is not the case, the endurance scheme becomes dominant. Although the Roma pupil is provided with support, education competes with other areas of life that the family perceives to be more important for survival. The absence of support multiplies and deepens feelings of unacceptance/distancing. In order to exercise the right to education, young people must expose themselves to the risk of rejection both by the dominant group and by their own kinship group.

On the other hand, the support and independence schemes are essential for achieving success in education. Parents are the key actors in the support scheme. They must be able to see the purpose of education – otherwise they cannot give their child the moral support he or she needs to overcome the frustration that occurs during the educational process and provide cognitive support from the school or an NGO through timely communication. Children reflect on the role of their parents and emphasize that they owe their parents for their education. (Although this belief seems meaningless to the dominant group.) For the parents, it means they must be ready to accept the possibility that their children might leave them and go their own ways. The support scheme basically means that Roma pupils find themselves in a liminal state at the time of education. In order to sustain it, they need support, which, however, must be unconditional.

The independence scheme refers to the Roma pupil’s self-confidence that he or she will be able to succeed. The pupil draws this self-confidence from his or her talent. This makes the right to education in Roma communities living in social exclusion an exclusive right. It is perceived as normal that not everyone strives to exercise this right. In this respect, the school can play an important role and give Roma pupils feedback showing them that it considers them educable. The teacher’s task is to open the child’s path to learning, to show him or her that it is not difficult, that it is possible to manage schoolwork (Bittnerová, Doubek, & Levínská, 2011b). Energy needs to be focused on better teacher training, which should not be just formal.

In the independence scheme, the emphasis on self-development and the transformation of the identity of the Roma who exercise their right to education is essential. The resulting tension increases the distance between the life story of an educated Roma and the story of people in excluded localities. The right to education helps students engage in the structures of the dominant group, but it also opens up an identity dilemma and brings forth feelings of misunderstanding and exclusion. Therefore, the story of education needs to be offered on a mass scale. That is why the Roma elite, who shares the same experience, is mobilizing.

The right to education is linked to the right to a life story, which would conform to the human rights recognized by a democratic society. Current conditions make the fulfilment of the right to education appear more complicated than from the point of view of a member of the dominant society. Parents’ communication and social competences are crucial. Another necessity is resilience to everyday encounters with racism and remarks that exclude an individual from society even though s/he actively participates in it (Fónadová, 2014; Smetáčková, 2017). Another necessity is securing financial resources by dividing one’s energy between working and studying. Paradoxically, the right to education is hampered by moral obligations stemming from family poverty. It is important for young adults to participate in the family or community economy. However, it is a strategy that does not benefit the community in the long run as it locks its members in exclusion.

The right to education is a proclamation that is fulfilled only in the context of real conditions. Despite repeated proclamations of the existence of equal rights, we know that actually achieving equal rights is hindered by unequal starting conditions. The opportunity to exercise the right to education is limited for the Roma, and even more so for Roma from excluded localities, and we observe the extreme engagement and effort of people who have managed to exercise their right.

Based on our results, how can we promote equal opportunities in education? First, the individuality of young people needs to be encouraged and they should be shown potential career paths that will bring meaning to their lives as individuals. The strategy of identifying with a role model still cannot be used here, because there are no role models of being successful in the dominant society. Individual motivation and providing opportunities to recognize one’s own ambitions means providing support at the level of the government, its organizations and non-governmental organizations (schools and NGOs). Second, parents need to be involved in the process so that they not only refrain from hindering educational ambitions, but even provide moral support to students. Third, provision of financial and cognitive support can be delegated to institutions other than the family. However, such a support project would be essentially exclusivist and would only target individuals who were themselves able to recognize their ambitions and growth potential. The fourth task is aimed at the dominant society and at ensuring that is operates on democratic and civic principles intrinsic to all members of society at all levels.

Acknowledgement

This publication was supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports - Institutional Support – Specific Research of University of Hradec Králové No. 2101/01210/1210, Roma - Cultural Models in Education within the Context of Legislative Changes, or Potential Possibilities for the Realization of the Right to Education.

This publication was supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports - Institutional Support for Longterm Development of Research Organizations - Charles University, Faculty of Humanities (MŠMT-2020) - 260 606 03.

The contribution is the outcome of the long-term qualitative research focused on the issue of Roma education in the Czech Republic provided by the research team Markéta Levínská, Dana Bittnerová, David Doubek. Their research interest had been started at the year of 2005. They have published several articles and three monographies on this topic, for example, Roma as the Others, in Intercultural Education, and Roma Minority in the Czech Republic in Lifelong Learning and the Roma Minority in Central and Eastern Europe.

With the support of the ERASMUS+ Programme of the European Union.

“The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.”

About the authors

Markéta Levínská (Czech Republic) is psychologist and sociocultural Anthropologist. She works as a researcher and a teacher at the University of Hradec Králové. She runs pre-graduate and postgraduate courses in methodology, psychology, intercultural psychology and communication. In her research work, she focuses on the issue of Roma education and social justice in the education system.

Dana Bittnerová (Czech Republic) is sociocultural Anthropologist. She is a researcher and teacher at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Faculty of Humanities and at the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Education, Charles Czech Republic. She focuses on research of Roma, especially the issues of the education and social inequality. Her next topics are minorities and migration in the Czech Republic, rural anthropology and children’s culture and folklore.

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  • Kohout-Diaz, M., Bittnerová, D., & Levínská, M. (2018). Limity inkluze ve vzdělávání romských dětí v České republice: boj o identitu žáka [Limits of inclusion in the education of Roma children in the Czech Republic: Struggle for the identity of the pupil]. Pedagogická Orientace, 28(2), 235268. Retrived from https://doi.org/10.5817/PedOr2018-2-235.

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  • Levínská, M., Bittnerová, D., & Doubek, D. (2017). Dohled a okraj: Rozhodovací procesy [Control and boundary: Decission making processes]. Praha: Fakulta humanitních studií UK.

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  • Levínská, M. Bittnerová D., & Doubek, D. (2019). Roma minority in the Czech Republic. In A. Óhidy, & K. F. Foray (Eds.) Lifelong learning and the roma minority in the central and Eastern Europe, (pp. 7197). Emerald Publishing Lmt.

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Interviews from which we cite in the article

The age of the respondents is usually estimated on the basis of information from the interview at the time of the interview; their personal information is anonymized.

Alan (2019, 2020). Father of a girl studying at university, educational worker.

Alice (2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2020). Key respondent, a set of interviews, mother of two daughters, field worker.

Arpád (2007). Widowed father of 13 children, 50 years old.

Bella (2009). Mother of 4 children, living in socially excluded locality, 50 years old.

Korina (2020). University student in 2020, 25 years old.

Leo (2020). University student in 2018–2020, 25 years old.

Libuše (2013). Roma woman, a university graduate and employee of an NGO, 35 years old.

Přemysl (2013). Roma man, a university graduate, father, manager in an NGO, 40 years old.

Sofia (2017). Roma woman, a university graduate psychologist, 37 years old.

Viola (2020). Educated Roma woman, artist, film-maker. 30 years old.

Manager at People in Need (2013). 30 years old.

Psychologist 1 (2006). Special pedagogical centre at a special needs school, supporting children with mental disabilities, 50 years old.

Psychologist 2 (2017). Educational-psychological counselling centre, 47 years old.

School headmaster 1 (2016). Special needs high school, 56 years old.

School headmaster 2 (2017). Special needs high school, 57 years old.

1

Resolution of the Presidium of the Czech National Council of 16 December 1992 on the declaration of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms as a part of the constitutional order of the Czech Republic, Constitutional act No. 2/1993 Coll. as amended by constitutional act No. 162/1998 Coll.

2

Minister of Education in Petr Nečas’ Cabinet (ODS, Civic Democratic Party).

3

There are no statistical data available to measure transfers of students to standard schools. It is not realistic to expect to be able to measure how many students have attempted to transfer. We obtained this information only through qualitative interviews. One would have to measure educational ambitions that were suppressed by the system, or cases where students were pushed back and were not able to achieve a full-fledged education.

4

The allowances for secondary school students are intended to cover the costs of tuition, school aids, commuting to/from school, meals and accommodation and their amount ranges from CZK 5,000 to CZK 9000 for full-time study; they are paid semi-annually; the amount depends on what year of study a student is in. However, for a family surviving on social welfare benefits, it is financially advantageous if a young person does not study and gets a job or applies for social benefits instead. Families manage their household finances based on the present, not with a view to the more distant future (MŠMT [MEYS], 2013–2020).

5

Fónadová (2014) writes about “Roma by profession.” Although she does not specifically mention this, in the interviews the informants talk about a Roma counsellor at the municipal office, or about social workers at NGOs. Šmídová (2001) focuses on Roma assistants and on the strategy developed to render them qualified for a job. However, being a Roma by profession also applies to professions associated with the media.

6

In the text, the different schemes will be shown in small caps, as is customary in cognitive anthropology.

7

The availability of retraining courses depends on the applicant’s achieved level of education. There was a problem when applicants did not have a duly completed primary education and thus could not take part in a hotel housekeeper training course. Labour offices only reimburse successfully completed courses; other courses include for example computer literacy, welding, accounting, or driving courses (Labour Office of the Czech Republic, 2020).

8

in sense: don’t lose your honour.

9

Of course, that was not definitive, but in that year of failure they were an example of how both their own and the NGO’s efforts collapsed.

10

There are no special student loans available in the Czech Republic. Commercial banks offer loans at a rate of 3.87%, but students need to get a guarantor, which is out of question in socially excluded localities.

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Senior Editors

Founding Editor: Tamás Kozma (Debrecen University)

Editor-in-ChiefAnikó Fehérvári (ELTE Eötvös Loránd University)

Assistant Editor: Eszter Bükki (ELTE Eötvös Loránd University)

Associate editors: 
Karolina Eszter Kovács (Debrecen University)
Valéria Markos (Debrecen University)
Zsolt Kristóf (Debrecen University)

 

Editorial Board

  • Tamas Bereczkei (University of Pécs)
  • Mark Bray (University of Hong Kong)
  • John Brennan (London School of Economics)
  • Carmel Cefai (University of Malta)
  • Laszlo Csernoch (University of Debrecen)
  • Katalin R Forray (HERA Hungarian Educational Research Association)
  • Zsolt Demetrovics (Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest)
  • Csaba Jancsak (University of Szeged)
  • Gabor Halasz (Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest)
  • Stephen Heyneman (Vanderbilt University, Nashville)
  • Katalin Keri (University of Pecs)
  • Marek Kwiek (Poznan University)
  • Joanna Madalinska-Michalak (University of Warszawa)
  • John Morgan (Cardiff University)
  • Roberto Moscati (University of Milan-Bicocca)
  • Guy Neave (Twente University, Enschede)
  • Andrea Ohidy (University of Freiburg)
  • Bela Pukanszky (University of Szeged)
  • Gabriella Pusztai (University of Debrecen)
  • Peter Toth (HERA Hungarian Educational Research Association)
  • Juergen Schriewer (Humboldt University, Berlin)
  • Ulrich Teichler (University of Kassel)
  • Voldemar Tomusk (Estonian Academy of Sciences, Tallin)
  • Horst Weishaupt (DIPF German Institute for International Educational Research, Frankfurt a.M)
  • Pavel Zgaga (University of Ljubljana)

 

Address of editorial office

Dr. Anikó Fehérvári
Institute of Education, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University
Address: 23-27. Kazinczy út 1075 Budapest, Hungary
E-mail: herj@ppk.elte.hu

ERIC

2020  
CrossRef Documents 36
WoS Cites 10
Wos H-index 3
Days from submission to acceptance 127
Days from acceptance to publication 142
Acceptance Rate 53%

2019  
WoS
Cites
22
CrossRef
Documents
48

 

Hungarian Educational Research Journal
Publication Model Gold Open Access
Submission Fee none
Article Processing Charge none
Subscription Information Gold Open Access

Hungarian Educational Research Journal
Language English
Size B5
Year of
Foundation
2011
Volumes
per Year
1
Issues
per Year
4
Founder Magyar Nevelés- és Oktatáskutatók Egyesülete – Hungarian Educational Research Association
Founder's
Address
H-4010 Debrecen, Hungary Pf 17
Publisher Akadémiai Kiadó
Publisher's
Address
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
Responsible
Publisher
Chief Executive Officer, Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN 2064-2199 (Online)

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