Strengthening Teaching and Learning Practices to Support Roma students in Macedonia
The data for the Roma inclusion index shows that: compared to other students, 23% fewer Roma students finished primary school; compared to other students, Roma students are enrolling 2.5 times more in special schools or special classes within regular schools than others; and still near one quarter of Roma students receive education in segregated schools or classrooms; Roma teacher – student ratio is 1 teacher to 524.5 students. To introduce teaching techniques and strategies in the work, which will support the learning process of the at-risk children and the children from the marginalized groups, in 2014, UNICEF office in Skopje in cooperation with the Macedonian Civic Education Center (MCEC) started the Inclusive Education program, in seven primary schools with significant number of Roma students. The baseline study was conducted with specifically developed methodology and besides the overall report for all project schools; a separate report for each school was prepared. One of the findings was that Roma students have a statistically significant lower results compared with other students (non-Roma) in mathematics, reading and writing. The findings provide a valuable insight that helped in selection of the appropriate training modules for teachers’ professional development, planning and conducting in-school support that responds to the baseline findings and expressing the needs. This information also was meaningful insight for monitoring the program implementation and measuring the effects of the undertaken activities during the realization.
Keywords: Roma students, inclusive education, “second” language skills, early grades, achievements.