The Strategy for the Social Inclusion of Roma 2016-2025 defines the following goal in the field of education: “Ensure the full inclusion of children and youth from the Roma community in quality preschool, primary and secondary education, increase Roma coverage in the student population and provision of support for the education of youth and adults without education or who have dropped out of education, with the introduction of effective and efficient mechanisms for combating discrimination and achieving the conditions for exercising all minority rights for Roma in the educational system.”
Activities implemented in the field of education:
- The project "Inclusive Preschool Education" is being implemented by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, in accordance with the Loan Agreement signed by the Republic of Serbia and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Grants will be awarded in at least 30 municipalities, and the grant amount (per municipality) will be a maximum USD 50,000. Subsidies will provide free-of-charge participation in PE programmes for children aged 3 to 5.5 years from the most vulnerable social groups.
- The job of “pedagogical assistant” has been further defined (through a job description, professional qualifications, education, and work experience required for performing the work of pedagogical assistant) in the Regulation on the catalogue of jobs in public services and other organizations in the public sector (“Off. Gazette of RS” No. 81/2017,6 of 23/01/2018 and 43 of 6/06/2018). The expansion of the network of pedagogical assistants is being implemented through the IPA II programme - Sector Budget Support. A total of 261 pedagogical assistants have been hired in primary schools and preschool institutions during the 2018/19 school year.
- The total number of Roma students enrolled in secondary schools during the 2017/18 school year was 1969 students, while 2220 of them were enrolled during the 2018/19 school year. Based on a Call for Awarding Pupil and Student Loans and Scholarships, 303 student scholarships were approved for Roma students for the 2017/18 school year, while 547 scholarships were awarded for 2018/19, 60% of them for girls. A total of 154 Roma students were enrolled during the academic year of 2017/18 through the Affirmative Measures Programme (71 M, 83 F).
- The Rulebook on the actions of an institution in case of suspicion or determined discriminatory treatment and injury to the reputation, honour or dignity of a person (Off. Gazette of RS 65/2018) came into force on 1 September 2018. It also defines segregation, preventive actions by the institution to prevent segregation, interventions and desegregation measures applied for individual children and students.
- The elective subject Roma language with elements of national culture is being attended by 2459 students in 75 primary school during the 2018/19 school year. Roma language textbooks for students from I to IV grade for use as of the 2018/2019 school year have been printed and included in the Supplement to the Textbook Catalogue (“Official Gazette of RS - Educational Gazette”, No. 9/16).
- Two by-laws have been adopted for adult education: Annual Adult Education Plan for 2018 (“Official Gazette”, No. 60/2018 of 3 August 2018) and the Rulebook on the contents and method of keeping records and issuing public documents for primary adult education (“Official Gazette of RS”, No. 65/18 of 13 August 2018). The Rulebook on the enrolment of students in secondary school for students older than 17 years of age facilitates enrolment to a desired secondary school for adult candidates and students of Roma nationality.
The European Commission Progress Report for Serbia of 29 May 2019 states that “there has been an increase in the number of Roma students receiving scholarships. However, only 9% of Roma children attend kindergartens, compared to the 28% of non-Roma children living in the vicinity. The drop-out rate remains high, particularly for Roma girls, while only 67% of Roma youth complete mandatory education, compared to the 96% of the non-Roma population. The percentage of those completing tertiary education remains extremely low, i.e. 1% compared to the 16% of the non-Roma population. The problem of segregation in education also needs to be handled.”