P R O J E C T   C O - F I N A N C E D   B Y   T H E   E U R O P E A N   U N I O N   F R O M   T H E   E U R O P E A N          S O C I A L   F U N D

                                                                                                       I   N   V   E   S   T    I   N   G    I   N     F   U   T   U   R   E
The content of this publication/ broadcast material are the sole responsibility of Asociación Socioeducativa Llere.


                                               Beneficiary / Leading partner: Asociación Socioeducativa Llere
               Partners: Romsko nacional novijeće (Roma National Council), Osnovna škola Galdovo (Sisak) (Galdovo Elementary School, Sisak).

                                                                      Contact persons:
                                              César Arroyo (Project Manager – Llere, Spain) 0034 925 24 17 62
                                       Bibijana Papo (Project Assistant – RNV, Croatia) 0091 600 19 49 / 01 580 26 99

                                                               Investing in the future.

For Intermediate body 1: - e-mail address: / For Intermediate body 2: - e-mail address:

Roberto Moreno López and César Arroyo López


David D. Orlović                      Katarina Duhović
Bibijana Papo                         Alen Beganović
Petar Zelić                           Tea Kupec
Veljko Kajtazi                        Jovica Radosavljević
Goran Lapat                           Jovana Petrović
Danijel Vojak                         Mirjam Ćorluka
Ljubica Bakić Tomić                   Irena Čugura Ćerić
Mirko Marković                        Čedo Todorović
Rosa Mari Ytarte                      Milan Mitrović
Rut Barranco                          Ana Benić
Bojan Iličić                          Sandra Sekulić
Danijel Bogdan                        Maja Martić
Jagoda Šukovez                        Martina Kesak
Marija Pokos                          Omer Ćorić
Rosana Stanko
Snježana Coha

Original version of the document in Croatian and English
©Asociación Llere (Spain)

ISBN: 978-84-617-0530-6
ISBN (Roma National Council):978-953-57825-3-7
Posted in Croatian and English
The first edition of the Croatian language: Zagreb, July 2014.

for publishers
Asociacion Socioeducativa Llere
Romsko nacionalno vijeće

Translation: Natalija Bajs, Elvira Mulić, Helena Šintić
Graphic design: La Casa Torcida
Print: Grafički zavod Hrvatske
Photos: Carlos Villarejo, Roberto Moreno i David D. Orlović.
Partners, associates and funding agencies								01

European and national strategic framework								02

Intercultural mediation as a professional tool								03

Promotion of multiculturality / interculturality, human rights and active citizenship					       04

Presentation of experiences and good practices								05

CREDITS AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS							                                                              06


                                    PRESENTATION OF THE PROJECT

                                                     ASSOCIATES AND
                                                     FUNDING AGENCIES
                                                     FOREWORD BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE ASSOCIATION
                                                     ASOCIACIÓN SOCIOEDUCATIVA LLERE
                                                     Mr. Manuel Peces

                                                     Our institutions are in a position to undertake a series
                                                     of transnational activities focused on improvements
                                                     in devising strategies and resources for the
                                                     integration of Roma children in the educational
                                                     system in the Republic of Croatia through the
                                                     implementation of expert mediation programs in
                                                     coordination with educational communities. A series
                                                     of specific activities will be implemented within this
                                                     general framework, all of which aim to include into
                                                     the system and improve the school success of all Roma
                                                     students in several Croatian counties, placing special
                                                     emphasis on strategies and human resources which can
                                                     be applied to this end.

                                                     In the course of preparatory meetings, which preceded
                                                     the project, partner institutions Llere, the Roma National
                                                     Council and Galdovo Elementary School, starting from
                                                     the analysis of the problems and needs of the Roma
                                                     communities in specific areas, three main lines of action
                                                     were chosen. They will enable the attainment of the
                                                     project’s main goal, and they relate to:


                                           PRESENTATION OF THE PROJECT
                                                    Partners, associates and funding agencies

»»   Training and qualification of all experts                 resides on the clear commitment to facilitate access to
     connected with social and educational institutions        knowledge from a theoretical and practical perspective,
»»   Commitment to improving coordination                      which comprises the combination of basic elements of
     channels and the transmission of information              work in professional intercultural mediation. Finally, we
     between included stakeholders                             have established that there is a need for work on the
»»   Finally, the implementation of innovative                 didactic qualification of experts, identifying and
     working measures in the afore-mentioned                   devising new ways of working with the students,
     environments in the framework of mediation,               parents and the educational community in
     interculturality and mutual transnational                 general, concepts such as the promotion of different
     learning and good practices.                              values, including difference, human rights and
                                                               active citizenship.
In this sense, the project aims to train experts to function
as intercultural mediators for the successful                  The ability of communication between different
inclusion of Roma students. In this way the project            institutions and the generalization of experiences
encompasses activities necessary for the improvement           connected with Roma students are of vital
of the transition of educational innovations and               importance, together with those educational processes


         which include first-hand work with Roma communities          education. This is why the Roma National Council,
         and children. To this purpose, we intend to use the          acting as an umbrella organization for the actualization
         anticipated course of activities to create new spaces for    of Roma rights in the Republic of Croatia, has become
         coordination between all of the stakeholders concerned       included in the implementation of this international
         (institutions, associations, parents, etc), in order to      project. Cooperation with institutions on the national,
         improve the transmission of important information            regional and local level plays a very important role in
         about work on the inclusion of Roma children, with           the achievement of our goals, as well as cooperation
         the intention of uniting all efforts and increasing the      with civil society organizations, schools, universities,
         efficiency of activities which, if they are undertaken       social care services and other institutions which work
         together, have a significantly bigger influence and          on improving the educational situation of the Roma
         chance of success. Therefore, we advocate an increase in     national minority. In fact, the intention of the project
         the formalization of mutual work frames, in order to         Mediators for Integration, within which this Manual is
         render more effective the transmission of information        published, is to connect individuals working in different
         and examples of good practices, such as mutual work          areas of expertise or in different institutions within
         protocols, virtual spaces for sharing information and        one city, to have them exchange different experiences,
         mutual management.                                           perspectives and ideas and acquire new skills and
                                                                      knowledge through education for mediators and to
                                                                      have them develop new strategies and resources for
         INTRODUCTION BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE ROMA                    including Roma children into the educational system.
         Mr. Veljko Kajtazi                                           Sisak, Kutina, Slavonski Brod and Darda were chosen as
                                                                      the places where the activities would be implemented.
         Dear readers!                                                Individuals participating in the activities (Roma
                                                                      activists, teachers, educators, school principals and
         This Manual represents a collection of texts written as      principals of centres for social care, social workers
         a part of the EU project Mediators for Integration which     and students of social and humanistic sciences) all
         was implemented in 2013 and 2014. The purpose of             came from these respective places. These places
         this Manual is to provide information and resource           have a significant number of Roma inhabitants and
         material which will give you an insight into the national    a significant number of Roma children included in
         and European legislation for the education of children       the educational system. Now that the process of the
         belonging to the Roma national minority, into the subject    implementation of the project is through, we can say
         of mediation within the family, school and community,        that we are exceptionally satisfied with the interaction,
         into the basics of interculturalism and human rights         which has developed between participants of the
         and into examples of good practices implemented by           education, the Roma National Council and our member
         Roma associations, elementary schools, centres for           associations in the locations of the implementation,
         social care and other institutions, which were created       elementary schools and centres for social care. The only
         through work with students who are members of the            way to solve existing problems is through continual
         Roma national minority. Special attention should be          work in local communities, establishing connections
         paid to texts written by participants of the education for   between kindergartens, schools, Roma activists and
         mediators, in which they describe the position of Roma       other stakeholders. Every local community and its every
         and the state and perspective of their education in Sisak,   member must become aware of the fact that it – and
         Kutina, Slavonski Brod and Darda. The texts may serve        its future– mostly depend on the education of their
         as recommendations for the further development of            children. In the context of communication between
         activities in these environments, in the aim of achieving    the family, the school representative, the social worker
         full integration of children belonging to the Roma           and the child, it is important to mention mediation.
         national minority into the educational system.               Mediation was the key word in all the project activities,
                                                                      socio-educational mediation in the family and in school.
         Education is a priority for the Roma National Council.       Beside education for mediators, participants had the
         Our goal is to increase the quality of education for         opportunity to learn about Spanish experiences with
         Roma children and to increase the number of children         mediation during their study visit to Toledo, Spain, the
         and young members of the Roma national minority              seat of the Llere Association, our partner organization in
         on all levels of education – from pre-school to higher       the realization of this project.


I would like to thank the Llere Association for our          at a too early age. This trend is more present among
successful cooperation in this project and the preparation   girls, who leave school to get married.
of this Manual, as well as the exchange of information
and experiences, which will surely help us in developing     The teacher plays an important role in the pupils’
further activities in Croatia. I would also like to thank    success. He is the person who is supposed to create
our partners, Galdovo Elementary School from Sisak,          a pleasant working environment and help the pupils
who were involved in all the activities within the project   feel safe in school. The teacher must be aware of the
and who supported us by offering their suggestions and       pupils’ abilities and approach them accordingly during
experience in educating children belonging to the Roma       their upbringing and education. He/she must act as a
national minority.                                           motivator, encourage pupils to complete their tasks
                                                             and adapt the curriculum to the pupils’ abilities. The
Last of all, I would like to recommend this Manual           teacher must make sure that the atmosphere in the
to employees working in kindergartens, elementary            classroom is pleasant and that the pupils accept one
schools and high schools, universities, social care          another and respect their mutual differences. We must
institutions, NGO experts and volunteers and to all those    make the pupils conscious of the importance of reading
who work on improving the Roma national minority             and writing and encourage them to take an interest
members’ position and on implementing their rights.          in books and the written word. Knowledge should be
                                                             transmitted through practical examples from real life
                                                             and everything that surrounds the pupils. At the same
GALDOVO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL                                    time, we must respect the tradition, culture and past of
Petar Zelić, Principal                                       the Roma people.

Galdovo Elementary School, in which Roma pupils              Each instance of cooperation with parents is important
constitute a significant number of the student               and each breakthrough should be appreciated.
population, joined the implementation of the project         Our school boasts an excellent cooperation with
Mediators for Integration together with the Llere            representatives of the Roma community in Palanjek,
Association and the Roma National Council. We did so         whose children attend our school – Galdovo Elementary
out of a desire to improve the quality and conditions of     School (5th – 8th grade) and Hrastenica Local School
education for all our Roma pupils.                           (1st – 4th grade). Parents have expressed their wish to
                                                             have their children attend kindergarten or pre-school. It
We encounter a large number of difficulties in our           would be desirable that pupils belonging to the Roma
work with the Roma population within the educational         national minority attend kindergarten or pre-school
system. Bilingualism remains the biggest problem for         so that they could learn Croatian and develop motor
both pupils and teachers. The pupils’ mother tongue is       functions. Starting school with previous knowledge
Roma, while Croatian is their second language, which         would make it easier for the pupils to attend the first
creates a language barrier for them when they start          grade. Extended stay at school would also be desirable,
school. Their knowledge of the Croatian language is          so the pupils could stay on in school after regular classes
insufficient for them to be able to use it completely.       are finished, write their homework, revise and spend
Teachers are not sufficiently acquainted with the Roma       time with their peers. This would enable them to go
language to achieve complete communication and               home without the burden of schoolwork.
transmit the necessary knowledge to the pupils. This is
why pupils are not able to fully follow the curriculum       The project “Mediators for the Integration” made us
and they cannot achieve the expected progress. Another       aware of the need for strengthening the cooperation
problem that has been noticed is the inconsistency           between the school, the centre for social care and the
between home and school upbringing. The parents,             City Council of Sisak with the Roma population in the
most of whom have not finished elementary school,            aim of sharing information from all sides and connecting
believe education is unnecessary. Luckily, that opinion      institutions’ work in order to help the Roma population.
seems to be changing, as well. Unfortunately, pupils’        The project also made us aware of the importance of the
homes do not possess the conditions necessary for them       mediator, a person who would be in charge of mediating
to fulfil their school duties and study, which slows down    between institutions, sharing information, working
the children’s progress during their education. Members      with families and offering the Roma community
of the Roma national minority also abandon education         necessary help and support. The mediator would work


         on connecting families with the school in the aim of
         ensuring a more successful education for the pupil.
         He/she would help the families with all the necessary
         legal questions or problems that they might come
         across. He/she would work on decreasing the children’s
         absences from school and give feedback to the school
         and the centre for social care, and in this way work on
         these questions in the field, where the problems are
         real, in the hopes of improving the Roma community’s
         position in the society and of changing the perception
         of education in the Roma community, i.e. increasing its



                                    CHAPTER I

                                                     AND NATIONAL

                                                     The overall EU framework, integrated into the plans of
                                                     the Republic of Croatia on the objectives for the inclusion
                                                     of the Roma minority, represents the starting point in
                                                     our project’s study and implementation of actions to
                                                     improve the current situation. The Europe 2020 Strategy
                                                     towards new ways of smart, sustainable and inclusive
                                                     growth leaves no place for the entrenched economic
                                                     and social marginalization of the largest minority in
                                                     Europe. The primary responsibility of this work lies with
                                                     the public authorities, but remains a challenge because
                                                     the social and economic integration of Roma is a two-
                                                     way process that requires changing the mindsets of the
                                                     majority of people as well as of members of the Roma

                                                     As it is stated in the working group “Gypsies” of the
                                                     Commission, despite some progress done at Member
                                                     States and EU level in recent years, little has changed
                                                     in the daily lives of most Roma. Strong and adequate
                                                     measures still haven’t been put in place to address
                                                     the social and economic problems of a large part of
                                                     the Roma in the EU. To face them, and because the


                                                                                            CHAPTER I
                                                   European and national strategic framework

absence of discrimination is not sufficient to combat          on providing access to education and care from early
the social exclusion of the Roma, the Commission calls         childhood on and including a larger number of children
on EU institutions to support the European Framework           in disadvantaged groups (Roma children) in high-
of National Strategies for Roma Inclusion. An oriented         quality preschool programs.
approach within the broader strategy fighting against
poverty and exclusion, which does not exclude aid              Roma children are often overrepresented in special
to other vunerable and disadvantaged groups of the             and segregated schools. We should strengthen the ties
population, is consistent with the principle of non-           between communities via mediators between cultures
discrimination both in the EU and nationally.                  and schools, associations and religious communities
                                                               and the participation of Roma parents, as well as
The Commission has adopted the “Communication on               improve intercultural competences of teachers, reduce
Early Childhood Education and Care”, highlighting that         segregation and guarantee compulsory assistance in
participation rates of Roma children are significantly         Primary Education. Mediators may inform and advise
lower, although their needs for help are greater. It must      parents on the operation of the local educational system
be ensured that they finish at least Primary Education         and help children in transition between different stages
and, following the Europe 2020 Strategy, attempts must         in their school itinerary.
be made to reduce the number of those who drop out
of High School. Visible are also the efforts to develop        In many countries, the training needed to work with
common principles for the inclusion of the Roma made           children at risk is included in the initial training, but
from good experiences of inclusion initiatives among           it doesn’t take sufficiently into account many other
Member States. The goal is to integrate the Roma               aspects of diversity. Although the professionalization
problems and use mutual learning and peer evaluations          and specialization of such personnel has improved, it
to explore possible improvements for their initiatives on      still remains very low. And to support it, the European
desegregation and access to education, employment              Commission promotes the identification and sharing of
and basic social services.                                     best practices and policies through the Open Method
                                                               of Coordination (OMC) in the subjects of education and
Access to education. It is already known that children,        training in the Member States (Education and Training
who are not schooled, are incorporated into the school         2020) and supports the development of innovative
system late or leave it early, find considerable subsequent    approaches by transnational projects and networks.
difficulties ranging from literacy and language problems
to feelings of exclusion and inadequacy. As a result, they     According to the Monitoring Commission for the
find it more difficult to access higher levels of education,   Implementation of the National Program for the Roma,
to college or good jobs. They put their future life at risk.   targets set out in the Plan of the Decade of Roma
                                                               Inclusion 2005-2015 in direct reference to improving
To improve this situation and in accordance with EU            the situation of Roma students are:
recommendations, it is necessary to focus attention


         »»   Pre-School education. Inclusion of Roma Children
              (male and female) in pre-school education
         »»   Primary Education. Inclusion of all Roma children in
              the system of compulsory primary education.
         »»   Secondary education. Increasing the number of
              Roma students (male and female) enrolled and
              graduating from secondary school.
         »»   Informal education. Awareness-raising campaigns
              on the preservation of Roma culture, language and
              customs for Roma and non-Roma populations.

         On March 31, 2005, the Government of the Republic
         of Croatia adopted the Action Plan for the Decade of
         Roma Inclusion 2005-2015, while the Plan of Action
         of the Decade of Inclusion for the years 2009 and 2010
         was adopted on July 16, 2009. In these documents, the
         Government of the Republic of Croatia shows its strong
         dedication and willingness to assume new commitments
         to overcome the difficulties that the Roma national
         minority has faced in Croatia and the EU for many years.
         The Action Plan also gathers cross-cutting themes like
         combating discrimination and poverty and promoting
         gender equality.

         As identified in the last report of UNICEF Program
         Document for Croatia 2012-2016 dealing with the
         situation of children (E/ICEF/2011/P/L.1) about 10
         percent of children under 14 live in poor households, the
         most vulnerable among them are Roma children. The
         vulnerability of this group continues despite Croatia’s
         participation in the intergovernmental initiative Decade
         of Roma Inclusion (2010-2015). Although Croatia offers
         good coverage of overall social protection, new policies
         are needed to strengthen social recovery.



                                                     INCLUSION OF
                                                     PUPILS BELONGING
                                                     TO THE ROMA
                                                     MINORITY AND
                                                     THE ROLE OF THE
                                                     Mirko Marković, consultant at the Office for Human
                                                     Rights and the Rights of National Minorities of the
                                                     Government of the Republic of Croatia

                                                     Parallel to the implementation of the National Program
                                                     for Roma, the Republic of Croatia has expressed its
                                                     readiness to join several other European countries and
                                                     take part in the Decade for the Inclusion of Roma 2005-
                                                     2015, which was started by a group of relevant regional
                                                     and international stakeholders.

                                                     By implementing the National Program for Roma
                                                     (adopted in 2003) and acceding the Decade for the
                                                     Inclusion of Roma, the Republic of Croatia also applies
                                                     the basic goals of the United Nations’ Millennium
                                                     Development and the Social Inclusion Program of the


European Union through its program intended for the               for Roma. It encompasses a scope wider than the
most vulnerable minority population in Europe – the               one recommended by the EU Framework, but on the
Roma.                                                             other hand it introduces innovations in relation to the
                                                                  National Program for Roma. The main areas covered by
In order to adjust its activities and efforts for the inclusion   the Strategy involve: education, employment, inclusion
of Roma to the Decade’s goals, in 2005 the Republic               in economic life, healthcare, social care, urban planning,
of Croatia adopted the Action Plan for the Decade for             housing, environmental protection, inclusion in social
the Inclusion of Roma 2005-2015 (hereinafter: APDR).              and cultural life, associations and status solutions,
The plan listed the precise goals, measures, indicators           suppression of discrimination and help in achieving
and institutions responsible for the implementation               rights. In accordance with the Strategy and the AP NSUR
of measures for the advancement of the lives of Roma              2013-2015, the Government of the Republic of Croatia
in the areas of education, housing, employment and                has reached the Decision on forming a Committee for
healthcare. Seeing as the initiative started by the Decade        monitoring the implementation of the National strategy
for the Inclusion of Roma extended over a longer period           and the Solution on the appointment of committee
of time, and since it possessed external (on the part of          members for monitoring the implementation of NSUR
the Decade) and internal mechanisms for monitoring                and AP. The Committee president is the vice-president
the implementation (committees which monitor the                  of the Croatian Government and his deputy is a Member
implementation of measures in Croatia), as well as                of Parliament who acts as the Roma representative in
certain financial structural support, primarily through           the Croatian Parliament. The Committee is comprised
the Roma Education Fund (REF), the APDR represented               in equal number by representatives of competent
the key document in the field of Roma inclusion.                  state bodies and representatives of the Roma national
                                                                  minority chosen after the execution of the Public Call.
In its attempts to improve the position and life
conditions of the Roma national minority and include              The Committee’s task is to systematically monitor and
members of the Roma community in public and social                coordinate the implementation of the Strategy, propose
life, the Government of the Republic of Croatia has               measures for the advancement of the implementation
regularly secured financial means from the State budget           of the Strategy and the AP for the implementation of the
for the implementation of the National Program for                Strategy, the creation of recommendations, opinions,
Roma (NPR) and the APDR. The National Strategy for                expert statements and reports and guidelines related
the Inclusion of Roma for the Period from 2013 to 2020            to the implementation of the Strategy. They must also
(hereinafter: the Strategy) was adopted at the end of             propose changes and additions to the Strategy and
2012, while the Action Plan for the implementation of             Action Plan, monitor schedules and the consumption of
the above Strategy (hereinafter: AP NSUR) was adopted             funds for the Strategy, which are secured from the State
in April 2013.                                                    budget of the Republic of Croatia, the distribution of
                                                                  financial funds for solving problems and improving life
The Strategy has ‘inherited’ the National Program                 conditions of members of the Roma national minority.


         Expert and administrative jobs for the Committee and          the co-financing of the parental stake for each Roma
         its work groups are carried out by the Office for Human       child, which attends kindergarten within the integrated
         Rights and the Rights of National Minorities.                 pre-school program. In a large number of environments
                                                                       there is no possibility for inclusion into integrated
         Within the Republic of Croatia’s one-year presidency over     conditions of pre-school upbringing in a regular pre-
         the Decade for the Inclusion of Roma, the conference          school institution. For now, this presents a serious
         Quality Education for Roma: the Sustainability of the         problem because of the decentralization of pre-school
         Educational Politics Developed within the Decade on           upbringing and the large number of small municipalities
         an European Level was held in Zagreb on 22nd and 23rd         which cannot co-finance pre-school upbringing in their
         April 2013. This international conference was organized       territories. As founders of kindergartens, municipalities
         by the Office for Human Rights and the Rights of National     should be responsible for an important part of the
         Minorities of the Government of the Republic of Croatia       activities necessary for the quality preparation of all
         and the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports. Its        children, and especially Roma children, for attending
         participants included almost a hundred government             the first grade of elementary school. This is the reason
         and civil society representatives from member states          for the introduction of the program of pre-school, i.e.
         of the Decade, representatives of Roma organizations          the program of preparation for attending elementary
         and international organizations, EU representatives and       school. It is most often executed in elementary schools
         experts from the field of education from 12 member            and partly in pre-school institutions, where there is
         states of the Decade, Italy, and Great Britain.               often no integration or the integration is symbolic,
                                                                       regardless of whether only some children in the group
         The inclusion of Roma students and the role of mediators      are not Roma or only some Roma children are included
                                                                       in the integrated groups. The pre-school program is most
         A total of 6.825 students belonging to the Roma               often carried out only for Roma children so as to prepare
         national minority were included in the system of              them for attending the first grade as much and as well
         upbringing and education (from pre-school to higher           as possible, and to teach them, as much as possible, the
         education) in the school year 2013/2014.                      Croatian language, according to their age group.

         Pre-school education: the program of pre-school               In 2013, more precisely at the end of school year
         upbringing and education is exceptionally important for       2012/2013, 764 children were part of pre-school
         Roma children. Ensuring their inclusion into programs         upbringing, 351 of which (160 male and 191 female)
         of pre-school upbringing is necessary in order to bridge      were in regular (integrated) pre-school upbringing
         the gap between the socio-economic situation in which         and 413 of which (203 male and 210 female) were
         Roma children live and the possibility for their successful   in pre-school programs. A total of 769 children were
         integration in the course of compulsory elementary            included at the beginning of school year 2013/2014.
         education. The Republic of Croatia is the first member of     390 of them (180 male and 210 female) were in pre-
         the Decade (from 2009) to have secured, on a state level,     school upbringing and 379 (184 male and 195 female)


were in pre-school programs. The amount of 3 131 967,       of Croatia. A solution for the problem is to be found
31 HRK was paid from the State budget for pre-school        within the project Integration of Groups in Unfavourable
upbringing and pre-school programs in 2013. This            Positions in the Regular Educational System funded by
significant increase in the consumption of funds for pre-   the EU from the IPA help program. The first kindergarten
school upbringing was caused by the implementation          to integrate all Roma children from their earliest age
of measures for the execution of the verdict in the         was the kindergarten Maslačak in Mursko Središće,
case Oršuš et al versus Croatia. The Ministry of Science,   which started the integration process in 2006 with the
Education and Sport, in agreement with the county of        help of REF funds.
Međimurje, secured a pre-school program for all Roma
children in the year before they start elementary school,   Elementary education: the past six years saw a
i.e. for children who were enrolled at the first grade      significant increase in the number of children belonging
of elementary school in the school year 2012/2013.          to the Roma national minority included in elementary
The children were in the pre-school program from 15         education (elementary schools), and the number
September 2011 to 15 June 2012, five hours per day,         continues to rise. In school year 2011/2012, there
with two meals and transportation. Consequently,            were 4.882 pupils (2.449 male, 2.433 female). At the
the children were included in the pre-school program        beginning of school year 2012/2013, there were 5.173
during the whole school year (from 15 September of          pupils (2.612 male, 2.561 female), while there were
the current year to 15 June of the following year), five    5.311 pupils (2.671 male, 2.640 female) at the end of
hours per day, and were provided with two meals and         that school year.
                                                            There was a total of 5.470 pupils (2 769 male, 2 701
The pre-school program is essential for Roma population     female) belonging to the Roma national minority at
of pre-school age. It achieves good results and points      the beginning of school year 2013/2014. Data about
to the necessity of organizing pre-school upbringing        the number of pupils leaving elementary school after
groups for all Roma children in order to prepare them       multiple repetitions show that completion of elementary
for inclusion in the system of upbringing and education,    education is still at a low level (see table). The total
especially in environments where there are no capacities    number of pupils who abandoned their education also
for integrated pre-school upbringing. The pre-school        included pupils who had turned 15 (and thus ceased to
program depends on financing from State budget funds        be obliged to attend school) and who have not finished
in the position of the National Program for Roma. The       elementary school.
sustainability of this program is rendered more difficult
by the diversion of priority because in the case of the
execution of the verdict of the European Court for
Human Rights, after the introduction of pre-school for
all the children in Međimurje, only a small portion of
funds remained for pre-school programs in other parts


           School year        2008/2009         2009/2010        2010/2011              2011/2012        2012/2013        2013/2014
            Number of            136               144              173                    189              153               -
            Number of           68 / 68              69 / 75          101 / 72           102 / 87          83 /70
          male / female
            Number of              -                    -               587                604              464              428
            Number of              -                    -         348 /239               331 /273         250 / 214       428 / 193
          male / female
            Number of              -                    -               555                700              362              511
          pupils – study
            Number of              -                    -         289 / 266              341 / 359
          male / female
            Number of             229                 340               246                256              362              548
           pupils in ex-
           tended stay
            Number of          124 / 105         .183 / 157       142 / 104              141 / 115       190 / 172        293 / 255
          male / female

         When it comes to class repetition, data shows that up to                year. The number of pupils in extended stay continues
         a certain level the increase in the number of repeaters is              to grow, but not sufficiently considering the needs and
         the result of more regular class attendance and a larger                conditions in which most Roma pupils live, and which
         number of pupils in elementary education. Starting with                 do not include even minimal conditions for studying.
         school year 2010/2011, data has been collected about the                548 pupils (293 male, 255 female) were included in the
         number of Roma pupils who have been offered special                     extended stay program in 7 counties, which means that
         assistance in learning Croatian based on Article 43 of the              only 10% of Roma pupils were included in the extended
         Law on Upbringing and Education in Elementary Schools                   stay program. This created specific preconditions for
         and High Schools. Assistance in learning Croatian has                   them to become more successful pupils and to receive
         been offered in nine (9) counties to 555 pupils (289                    help in understanding the curriculum.
         male, 266 female) out of the 4 723 (2 409 male, 2 314
         female) Roma pupils in elementary school in that school                 Certain breakthroughs achieved in the county of


Međimurje were co-financed by the Ministry of Health,        implement identical and similar programs in schools,
Education and Sport and the REF, given the condition         which will be feasible during special holidays and
that extended stay in three elementary schools (one          various celebrations of significant events and visits by
in the county of Međimurje and two in the county of          famous persons. Work with parents and with all the
Varaždin) shall be continued, and that the Ministry of       citizens of the county of Međimurje should include
Health, Education and Sport would finance one half           knowledge about conventions and their application,
of the project, while the other half would be financed       insistence on teaching about the values of knowledge,
through the budgets of counties which founded the            responsibility, tolerance, solidarity. Work with principals
schools. Most of the schools in the county of Međimurje      is necessary in the sense of specific problems in the
hire Roma helpers. There are 26 of them (15 male, 11         county of Međimurje, so that they might be assisted
female) and their work is financed from the State            in solving those problems in timely manner, because
budget, as well as that of all other elementary school       they demand more efficient school management and
employees. 1 608 757, 91 HRK was spent for the               running and more intensive cooperation with Roma
salaries of 26 employees – Roma helpers – in 2013. In        and non-Roma parents. In 2013, 229 963, 40 HRK from
accordance with the Law on Upbringing and Education          the State budget was spent on educational programs,
in Elementary Schools and High Schools, the end of           excursions, nature studies, extracurricular activities,
2011 marked the beginning of the process of hiring           extended stay, etc., bringing the total amount of money
Roma helpers on the basis of work contracts (they were       spent in 2013 to 1 728 976, 32 HRK.
previously hired on the basis of service contracts). The
Education and Teacher Training Agency (Agencija za           High school education: from year to year, the number
odgoj i obrazovanje, hereinafter: AZOO) also began the       of Roma students included in high school education
professional training of cooperates – Roma helpers.          increases. On the occasion of inscription in the Decision
                                                             on the Elements and Criteria for the Choice of Candidates
Measures for the execution of the verdict in the case        for the Enrolment in High School, which was adopted
Oršuš et al aim, among other things, to increase the         by the competent ministry (the Ministry of Health,
organization of different activities which would: a)         Education and Sport), the number of Roma students
provide cultural affirmation for the Roma population         was determined, so that students who live in difficult
with its specificities, knowledge and craft, b) contribute   conditions are helped and it is made easier for them to
to the bigger connection and common activities with          enrol at the high school program of their choice. Although
the non-Roma population in their life surroundings, c)       the number of students who continue their education
increased circulation of famous or important persons         in three-year programs is bigger in comparison to the
from other parts of the Republic of Croatia and abroad       number of Roma students in four-year programs, there
whose visits would set a powerful example and model          is a notable increase in the number of students enrolled
for the accomplishment of the goals of efficient             in the first year of four-year schools. It is also visible
coexistence in the community and encourage more              that students drop out of school, i.e. abandon their
effective teaching and learning. It is necessary to          education. Data on the change in the number of high


         school students, scholarships, repeaters and students          16 female) students were given scholarships to the total
         who choose not to continue their education can be              amount of 230 000, 00 HRK through the National Trust
         found in the table below. Since enrolment at three-year        for the Support of Pupil and Student Standard, which
         vocational schools is still prevalent, there will be a need    has been announcing scholarship competitions from
         for stronger engagement, support for students and              2012. In 2013, the National Trust awarded scholarships
         encouragement for their parents where enrolment in             to 23 Roma students, while the City of Zagreb awarded
         four-year programs is concerned. The Ministry of Health,       2 scholarships to Roma students.
         Education and Sport gives all Roma high school students
         scholarships in the amount of 5 000, 00 HRK per year per       Adult education: Members of the Roma national
         student, i.e. 500,00 HRK per month during the whole.           minority were included in the project Decade of Literacy
                                                                        in Croatia – for Croatian Literacy 2003-2012. In 2012,
         In the last four years there has been a significant increase   311 adults (156 male, 155 female) participated in
         in the number of high school students and scholarships.        literacy and training programs. The number of Roma
         In the school year 2008/2009, 265 students were given          included in the system of adult education during 2013
         scholarships, while the number of student scholarships         totalled 495 (323 male, 172 female). 446 of them (297
         increased to 480 in school year 2012/2013. 2 125               male, 149 female) were included in the literacy program
         000, 00 HRK was spent on high school scholarships in           and 49 were in the program of training for the first
         2012, while the money spent on scholarships in 2013            profession, while the total amount of funds stood at 984
         amounted to 2 429 656, 96 HRK.                                 700, 00 HRK.

         Excursions and accommodation into dorms are co-                The biggest problems in relation to the education of
         financed for students in need. 82 075, 00 HRK was spent        Roma in the field of elementary education are: irregular
         on excursions in 2013, while 46 213, 80 HRK was spent          class attendance, a low rate of completion of elementary
         on accommodation into student homes. Special forms             education, i.e. abandoning education after turning 15
         of classes (summer school) and nature studies were             years of age, inadequate tracking of the representation of
         organized for Roma students in 2013: summer school             Roma children who are being educated through special
         for 32 students.                                               programs for children with difficulties, inadequate
         Higher education: State budget funds are provided for          planning and discontinued financing of extended stay
         scholarships for all Roma students who apply for them,         programs, a lack of continued and focused support for
         given that they declare themselves as members of the           education workers who work with Roma children and a
         Roma national minority. The scholarship amounts to 1           lack of consistent implementation of measures for the
         000, 00 HRK per month in the course of ten months, i.e.        repression of segregation.
         10 000, 00 HRK per year. Scholarships were given to 29
         students in the academic year 2011/2012 and 290 000,           Educational segregation has a negative effect on three
         00 HRK from the State budget was spent to that purpose.        key levels which contribute to the inclusion of Roma in
         In the academic year 2012/2013, a total of 23 (7 male,         the society. Its most direct an intense effect is on the


                                  2010.                    2011.                  2012.                    2103.
   Total number of         327 (158 male / 169      425 (214 male / 211    480 (286 male / 294      586 (328 male /258
      students                   female)                  female)                female)                  female)
 Number of students          57 (27male / 30         67 (30 male / 37        63 (34male / 29
  who have dropped               female)                  female)                female)
    out of school
 Number of repeaters         20 (9male / 11           45 (30male / 15        53 (38male / 15          52 (35male / 17
                                female)                   female)                female)                  female)
  State budget funds                                   1.598 820,00           2.125 000,00             2.429 656,96
  for scholarships (in

Scholarship funds are continually increased: 2.429 656, 96 HRK was paid up in 2013.
reduction of quality of the education received by Roma           children, to raise awareness in the Roma community
children. According to the European Court for Human              about the harm of consuming addictive substances. This
Rights’ verdict, Roma students who attend classes                Special Objective is in accordance with the goals and
where there are no other students, so-called segregated          priorities of the National Program for the Prevention
classes, stand a big chance of becoming less successful          of Addiction for children and youth in the educational
students, to abandon their education earlier and to have         system, and children and youth in the system of social
significantly smaller chances and success in finding jobs,       care. Special emphasis must be placed on the need for
i.e. on the labour market, or to only be able to do jobs         additional education of all the workers in educational
which do not require a high level of skill, which is the         institutions attended by Roma children. In order to
type of job the Roma typically perform. On the other             ensure that the children receive a quality education and
hand, Roma children who attend ‘mixed’ classes, i.e.             to even out all the children’s possibilities for achieving
integrated classes, face the challenges of inclusion in          equal educational accomplishments, teachers working
the school program and fitting in the environment of             with the most vulnerable population should be
the rest of the population.                                      motivated for work, highly educated and committed to
                                                                 their continued professional improvement. Significant
On the other hand, teachers in ‘Roma’ classes face               reinforcements are necessary in the support mechanisms
difficult working conditions and limited funds and               for educators, teachers, expert associates and principals.
abilities for the implementation of additional support
programs necessary for Roma children. It is necessary to         It is also necessary to strengthen workers’ capacities for
provide information, education and methods for raising           tracking the work quality in multicultural surroundings
the awareness of the Roma population, parents and                and with children from socially deprived families, as


         well as in the recognition of discriminatory practices in   school education. There has been a slight decrease in the
         education workers’ activity. In addition to presenting a    number of students in higher education, which might
         pedagogic challenge, work with children from socially       partly be the consequence of the long-lasting, severe
         deprived families often presents an emotional burden.       economic crisis and the inability to hire those Roma
         Education workers should therefore receive additional       persons who have successfully completed their higher
         specific education in the field of stress management,       education.
         as well as counselling and supervision. The Education
         and Teacher Training Agency has continued professional
         training based on the Curriculum for Teaching Croatian
         as a Foreign Language in the aim of facilitating the
         study of Croatian as a foreign language and of easier
         inclusion of foreign language-speaking students
         into the educational process. Between 35 and 40
         participants attended those courses. The workshops
         took place in Čakovec (30 January – 12 November
         2013), as did the final conference for the project. A
         workshop was held in connection with the Strategy for
         Teaching and Learning Croatian as a Foreign Language:
         a congress primarily meant for teachers from the county
         of Primorje-Gorski Kotar and Lika-Senj who teach
         foreign language-speaking students. The Education and
         Teacher Training Agency also organized the introductory
         seminar Approach Focused on the Pre-school Child
         whose participants were kindergarten teachers. They
         also organized the project Getting Ready for School,
         within which workshops were given once a week from
         January to June 2013 in four elementary schools. The
         workshops were organized for Roma parents with pre-
         school children. The schools included in the project were
         Vladimir Vidrić Elementary School in Kutina, Orehovica
         Elementary School in Orehovica, Tomaž Goričanec
         Elementary School in Mala Subotica and Dr. Ivan Novak
         Elementary School in Macinec. More than 100 parents
         were included in the workshop. This practice of mutual
         cooperation should be encouraged and continued.

         The implementation of external evaluation of Roma
         education and upbringing in elementary schools
         and the presentation of the results of this external
         evaluation should be carried out by the National Centre
         for the External Evaluation of Education, as well as
         expert control of knowledge of the Croatian language.
         The most suitable educational model for individuals or
         student groups should be based on the results of these
         evaluations. The models would serve for the study of the
         Croatian language, achieving successful integration and
         socialization and improving school success.

         In accordance with the Strategy, there has been an
         increase in number of Roma children in integrated pre-
         school upbringing and pre-school program and in the
         number of students included in elementary and high



                                    CHAPTER II

                                                     MEDIATION AS A

                                                     The content of this publication is meant to ease the
                                                     acquisition of new skills for those professionals who
                                                     exert their efforts in the implementation of potentially
                                                     mediative activities in order to improve the integration
                                                     of Roma children in the educational system. The manual
                                                     may also be useful for the introduction of good practices,
                                                     methods and tools for professionals who directly or
                                                     indirectly work with Roma children.

                                                     On the other hand, it may also serve as an addition to the
                                                     work that is already being done by professionals. In this
                                                     way, it can offer new educational and social challenges.
                                                     Different countries hire mediators to the purpose of
                                                     improving the education of Roma children. However,
                                                     the practical aspects of these working positions differ
                                                     greatly, depending on the country, while the situation
                                                     differs the most when considering the inclusion of
                                                     children from the Roma community in the educational

                                                     The mediator figure can mostly be seen as able to become
                                                     a part of educational institutions, local government or


                                                                                         CHAPTER II
                                              Intercultural mediation as a professional tool

civil society organizations. In this sense it is necessary   social space. The majority collective whose values and
to emphasize the difference between mediators and            cultural codes are dominant coexists with different
teachers who offer additional support to Roma children:      minority collectives who demand the right to remain
                                                             different and not have cultural hegemony eradicate their
»»   Teachers only satisfy the children’s needs in           characteristics. On a socio-economic level, it is visible
     educational activities (learning in class, homework,    that the average rate of members of those minority
     etc).                                                   collectives who find themselves in unfavorable social
»»   Mediators perform a more global function – they         situations is higher than the average rate of members
     bring together the family, the school and the child.    of the majority collective in the same situation. This has
     They also perform the function of establishing          a negative impact on their access to basic needs and on
     closer relations with the community environment.        their ability to act, understand and manage the codes
                                                             of the majority culture. Within this frame, there is an
Intercultural mediation                                      apparent need for stimulating communication between
Mediation is used in a great number of areas both as         persons belonging to the majority culture and those
a means and as a way of solving conflicts and also as        belonging to minority cultures, because communication
an answer to different needs. In multicultural contexts,     is jeopardized by spatial segregation under the influence
the application of mediation is relatively new and has a     of stereotypes and prejudice which the two groups have
limited theoretical and practical heritage.                  about each other.

Conflicts are closely related to human relations and         The vulnerability which characterizes persons from
they constantly appear. Their frequency and seriousness      minority cultural collectives demands that the
largely depend on the ability of persons and groups          methodologies of social intervention be adapted in
to prevent them, solve them when they appear and             accordance with the specificities of these groups. In
use them to further their mutual understanding and           some cases, emphasis will be placed on the inequalities
improve their interaction. Mediation is a means that         and discrimination concerning the access to resources
conflicted parties resort to in order to overcome their      and satisfying basic needs. In other cases, it will be
conflict, in which both parties are protagonists, while      useful to achieve a synergy between common resources
the mediator must remain neutral and dedicated to            and resources belonging to the community itself.
managing the process which will lead the conflicted
parties to a satisfactory solution for everyone involved.    In conclusion, figures of professional mediators present a
                                                             triple connection for supporting groups which comprise
In multicultural contexts, there are also other              the educational community:
characteristics which make the need for mediation
different and relevant in comparison to others. Firstly,     For families. Direct contact with them, counselling
we are talking about persons who belong to different         about educational questions (administrative and legal,
socio-cultural and ethnic groups which share the same        educational plans and programs, etc), knowledge of the


         Roma language and their role of mediator in connecting      »»   If possible, to possess knowledge of the language
         schools with other educational institutions.                     applied in the educational system, as well as
                                                                          knowledge of the Roma community’s language.
         For schools. By contextualizing the reality of the          »»   To understand the ‘’cultural codes’’ of the majority
         communities in schools, training teachers in                     culture and of the Roma culture.
         multicultural questions, intercultural activities in the
         school context...                                           In regard to the school
                                                                     »» To be acquainted with the school environment (the
         For children. By offering support during their transition        educational system, the school, teachers, available
         into the following phases of education, including                resources and capacities for children in unfavourable
         activities for offering extracurricular support and              positions, especially Roma children).
         entertainment, social promotion and integration into
         groups of equals...                                         In regard to the community or the context.
                                                                     »» Notifying the community about the measures
         PROFILE, TASKS AND CODE OF CONDUCT                               relating to the education of Roma children and
         It is important to emphasize those skills, abilities and         raising awareness among Roma families about the
         attitudes which are desirable and appropriate for the            importance of pre-school upbringing and education
         profile of professional mediators for integration. Some          and school education.
         of their most important functions within the frame of
         each of their areas of influence on children include:       Abilities and skills
                                                                     »» Mediators should be acquainted with the local
         With regard to family and minors                                 community in general, and the Roma community
         »» Visiting families, especially those who live in               in particular.
             underprivileged neighbourhoods and areas, in            »» To be acquainted the local authorities, especially the
             order to establish their social surroundings, the            social care and child protection system. Mediators
             parents’ attitudes and the children’s position.              must also possess good communication skills.
         »» Offering specific activities to Roma families.
         »» Motivating parents to participate in their children’s    Mediators’ possible tasks
             education and school activities.                        According to the situation, the priorities set by the
         »» Offering support to children in schools.                 European and national framework, and in relation to
         »» Organizing potentially inclusive activities for          the educational system, mediators’ main lines of work
             children.                                               may focus on:
                                                                     »» Early inclusion in the educational system. It is
         Abilities and skills                                            necessary to advocate the improvement of inclusion
         »» It is exceptionally important to have a thorough             and early support.
              knowledge of the Roma culture as a whole.              »» Ensuring class attendance.

»»   Prevention and control of abandoning education.        »»   Cultural identity
»»   Encouraging academic success.                          »»   Fostering mediction activities
»»   Fostering positive relations between Roma and
     non-Roma children.                                     Basic rules or Code of conduct
»»   Focusing on the reasons because of which pupils        Mediators involved in socio-educational processes
     miss classes or leave school.                          must serve as reference models of professionals for the
»»   Increasing chances for academic success and in-        community as a whole by respecting questions which
     class support.                                         appear within the processes of completing basic tasks.
»»   Analyzing problems faced by the local community,       It is important to constantly bear in mind the following:
     such as the approach to school, i.e. non-acceptance
     of the school by the local Roma community.             Respect of human rights, the dignity of all people
                                                            and fostering equality in the actualization of
In a practical sense, the mediator’s work will mostly       those rights. The mediator acts from the perspective
focus on:                                                   of respecting human rights in order to ensure that
»» Active cooperation in the integration of Roma            members of the Roma community wholly benefit
    children into schools, especially at the beginning of   from the rights that they are entitled to. The mediator
    the school year;                                        offers support in overcoming possible obstacles which
»» Enabling communication between the school and            might disable real equality in rights. In some cases it
    Roma parents:                                           is necessary to take special measures in order to take
»» Fostering a school environment which encourages          into consideration certain specific needs. The mediator
    intercultural communication between members of          is trusted both by the Roma community and by the
    Roma and non-Roma communities, and which is             public institutions, and respected as a professional with
    based on mutual understanding and acceptance.           specific tasks.
»» Fostering and promoting activities which bring
    together families, schools and the social and           The mediator cooperates with interested parties
    cultural surroundings.                                  in finding solutions, to their mutual pleasure.
»» Acting as intermediaries between different               The mediator acts as an intermediary who presents
    establishments involved in the processes of             the needs of the Roma community’s members, as well
    socialization of Roma children.                         as the institution’s needs, and he/she cooperates in
                                                            both parties’ agreement. The mediator does not accuse
Generally, we must advocate:                                any of the involved parties, because his/her task is to
»» Cooperation with school management                       improve relations and advocate both sides’ interests.
»» Rendering the parents sensitive                          In this sense, the mediator possesses a certain degree
»» Communication with parents, children and teachers        of neutrality in relation to the parties involved, but he/
»» Organization of meetings and events                      she is familiar with the facts and manages the Roma
»» Managing conflicts and structural imbalance              population’s and public institution employees’ needs in
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