From June 2019 to October 2020, we cooperate with civic association eduRoma – Roma education project and the Office of the Plenipotentiary of the Slovak Government for Roma Communities on a project called “Strengthening Professional Capacities in Preprimary Education in the Context of Roma Children”, funded through a grant from the Active Citizens Fund – Slovakia. The project responds to the problem of low participation rate of Roma children from socially disadvantaged background in preschool education in Slovakia and to insufficient readiness of municipalities and preschools for their inclusion.
Preschool education is crucial for integration of children in subsequent levels of education and later in other areas of life. Despite that, according to the EU-MIDIS II report, only approximately 34% of Roma children in Slovakia attend preschool, in contrast to 77% of children from the overall population between 4 years and the starting age of compulsory education. Research shows that in order to increase the participation rate of children in education, it is crucial to improve attitudes and professional readiness of (non-)pedagogical personnel in preschool facilities and of municipal actors, as well as to reduce less visible barriers that socially excluded families face and that are locally specific.
The goal of this project is to respond to these factors, to map out the readiness of municipalities and preschools for inclusion of children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds into preprimary education, and to provide them with assistance in improving their readiness.
The project consists of three parts: (1) research: mapping of the situation and developing recommendations; (2) intervention: assistance to municipalities and preschool representatives in improving their readiness; (3) advocacy: presenting the recommendations to policymakers in the area of preprimary education. The chosen project strategy assumes that successful school participation of children is contingent on the involvement of all actors in various areas on both municipal and community level.