On Friday, April 27, 2012 at Bureau for Interethnic Relations approximately 50 people participated in a round table discussion entitled “The promotion of quality education for Roma children from Moldova”. This was a unique event in Moldova because for the first time at governmental level the discussions focused exclusively on education.The event was organized by the Institute for Rural Initiatives and Bureau for Interethnic Relations in partnership with the Ministry of Education in Moldova with the support of Roma Education Fund, Budapest. The event was held with the goal of underlining the importance and necessity of implementing the Action plan for supporting the Roma population of Moldova in 2012.
This meeting was presented with representatives from the General School Inspectorate from 13 rayons, and among the invitees were members from international institutions such as Zsofia Farkas (Minority Rights Group Europe, Budapest), Alexandru Staratulat (UNICEF Moldova), Claude Cahn (the Council of Human Rights of the UN in Moldova), Kim Davis (the RISE initiative, Peace Corps), Igor Pivovar (OSCE expert), Cristina Triboi (the Terres des hommes organization, Moldova).
The round table was held in three sessions during which the challenges of Roma children in education all over the country were discussed. After the discussion a series of solutions were identified and new ideas for action to promote quality education among Roma, which will be implemented in the future.
Civil society representatives came with a series of proposals and observations, which could facilitate the acceptance of educational concepts in traditional Roma communities. Community mediators that were present at the round table reported on the actual situations, and in this context more voices supported that a considerable number of ethnic Roma children do not see a benefit in education, and therefore suffer from school drop-out and neglect in school. Unfortunately, this was reported also as a lack of a support from educational institutions, in which a number of cases did not help Roma students have a better access to higher educational institutions.
At the same time some reports came with past successes from different corners of the country. One example consisted of a presentation of a pilot project held by the Institute for Rural Initiatives called “The facilitation of quality education for Roma children in Moldovan schools” with the support of the Roma Education Fund, Hungary, held in the village of Zirnesti, Cahul county, between March, 2011 and June, 2012. This project is intended to facilitate and assist the academic process through a unique process of individual academic attention based on educational vouchers and a rigorous system of measuring the results of the project. Also the county of Cahul reported on a series of activities, which would create leaders in the capital that are invested in the education of Roma children.
The event was organized by the Institute for Rural Initiatives and the Office of Inter-racial Relations in cooperation with the Ministry of Education in Moldova, with financial contributions by the Roma Education Foundation, Budapest.