Accepted Paper:

Measures and practices of the educational system concerning Gypsies: results of two case studies in Romania and Portugal  


Maria Mendes (Universidade de Lisboa e CIES-IUL)
Stefania Toma (Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities)

Paper short abstract:

The purpose of this paper is to compare the findings of two field-researches on minority education in Portugal and Romania with particular focus on the Roma minority. Are the political and social measures/practices promote the integration or segregation of Roma children?

Paper long abstract:

It is estimated that there are 12 million Gypsies in the world and that two thirds live in Europe. The biggest communities are concentrated in Central European countries, like Bulgaria (700 ­ 800 thousand), the Czech Republic (250 ­ 300 thousand), Hungary (550 ­ 600 thousand), Romania (1 million 800 thousand ­ 2 million 500 thousand), Slovakia (480 ­ 500 thousand) and the former Yugoslavia (between 690 thousand and 1 million). It is estimated that 30 to 50 thousand Gypsies live in Portugal.

There is certain transverseness at the level of social situations, living conditions and difficulties experienced by Gypsies in several countries, as it happens in Portugal and Romania. In both contexts, Gypsies are categorized as an ethnic group, a minority group, a minority particularly vulnerable to poverty, social exclusion and possibly to marginalization. There seems to be a certain consistency and historicity in the prejudices that are built by the majorities in these two countries regarding the Gypsies. It seems evident among the major population an attitude of general antipathy, sometimes, of not controlled but open rejection. Therefore, in this communication we would like to present and discuss some of the results of two case studies: one of them made in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area and the other in Nusfalau (Salej County) in Romania. Among the dimensions to be analysed, we will debate the impact of some political and social measures and their effect on the practices, that is, both on the Gypsies' behaviours regarding schooling and educational system, and on the practices of some of the educational system's actors (teachers, educators, education assistants). Are we facing political measures that are in consonance with the practices, that can promote an integrated and/or a separated education? In a wider context, that of the relations between Gypsies and non-Gypsies, we will try to account for the representations, practices, obstacles and difficulties that mark the relation between Gypsies and the formal educational system. The interpretation of the results demands a reflection on the importance of the table of values of the Gypsy ingroup, about its internal structure and the relevance of informal education within itself.

Panel W121
Poster session