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Proposals from Fundación Secretariado Gitano for the back-to-school in September 2020 [editar]

Fundación Secretariado Gitano

Proposals from Fundación Secretariado Gitano for the back-to-school in September 2020

Given the complex situation of returning to the classrooms in the 2020-2021 academic year, from the Fundación Secretariado Gitano we want to transfer our position and proposals to the different public administrations, so that in the process of definition, design and implementation of measures and protocols of initiation the situation of Roma students is taken into account due to their special social and educational characteristics, and their safety and protection, as well as their necessary learning and socialization process is guaranteed.

Despite the evident inequality gap that still exists, the educational level of the Roma population has progressively improved over the last decades. The widespread schooling of Roma girls and boys and a more positive view of education and school by Roma families have enabled more and more young Roma to achieve higher levels of education than the previous generation.

This progressive increase in the educational level of the Roma population runs the risk of halting if, in the current situation of pandemic and potential risks, the necessary educational and health measures are not put in place to ensure that Roma students continue their educational process in equal opportunities and compensating their educational and social disadvantages.

Back to the classroom for Roma families

This beginning of the course, affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, is raising fears and doubts for many families, also for Roma families, where minors have traditionally been persons of special protection. There are structural elements that specifically affect Roma families and that, therefore, must be taken into account in this process of returning to the classroom, if we want Roma students and families to feel involved and safe.

But, without a doubt, it is the educational inequality gap of Roma students that must determine the response from of the public administrations at the beginning of the year. The educational inequality of Roma students, which is manifested in all educational stages from early childhood education (only 24.5% of Roma minors enter nursery education in the stage from 0 to 3 and 89% do so in the second cycle), is evident even before the completion of Compulsory Secondary Education, with a 64% school failure rate, that is, Roma students who do not complete compulsory studies. On the other hand, early school leaving among Roma youth stands at 63.7% [5].

Proposals to educational administrations

For all the abovementioned, Roma students are in a clear disadvantage and the current crisis generated by the Coronavirus is aggravating it due to the existing inequalities, but also due to the deficiencies of the educational system itself.

For this reason, from Fundación Secretariado Gitano we ask the different educational administrations a safe, but also equitable and inclusive return to the classrooms, which compensates for existing educational inequalities and offers adapted responses with an intercultural perspective that avoids the disconnection of students and Roma families from the educational system. The final decision of families to incorporate their sons and daughters into the classroom must be based on the guarantee of safety that the educational centers have to offer, clear information, and support and guidance resources.


  • Reinforce the mechanisms of accompaniment and educational support aimed at students with greater difficulties. It is precisely in these moments of greatest uncertainty and instability that children in situations of educational and social vulnerability are detached from the educational process and the risk of school failure increases. There must be a firm commitment on the part of the educational administrations that the Covid-19 pandemic does not generate greater educational inequalities, and for this it is essential that the orientation and educational support programs for students who require this school support are reinforced, as well as communication and guidance to families from the educational centers themselves.
  • Provide families with complete, up-to-date, rigorous and clear information on the prevention and health protection protocols in place within each educational center, opening spaces and channels for communication and direct dialogue that generate trust, closeness and security in families in the face of possible doubts.
  • Guarantee the necessary security measures in all educational centers. The return to the classroom must have all the guarantees of prevention and protection against potential contagions of the pandemic; Schools and high schools must be safe places for children and adolescents in all circumstances. For this, the educational administrations must ensure the necessary additional resources, both material and human resources, to face this extraordinary situation. Investment in education should be a priority, and guaranteeing presence requires an economic commitment from all educational administrations. A commitment that should be greater with those educational centers with a high percentage of students in a socio-educational disadvantage. Likewise, blended education must be carried out with guarantees so that all students can follow the course with the highest quality, implementing specific actions aimed at students who are in vulnerable situations.
  • Offer guidance to families on the process of incorporation and attendance to the classrooms of their sons and daughters, prioritizing preventive measures (accompaniment and support for families) over punitive ones, and impartially informing about the possible consequences, including penalties, absenteeism, avoiding threatening and sanctioning messages and styles; but, above all, clearly explain the negative impact on the educational process of boys and girls of staying out of the classroom activity. The risk is a higher rate of school failure and drop-out, especially in the case of girls due to the risk that the care of other minors falls on them, and consequently, greater educational inequality for Roma students.
  • Reduce the digital gap. Although there is a firm commitment towards face-to-face education, the digital gap suffered by children in situations of greater vulnerability continues to be a barrier to equal opportunities. It is essential to maintain the necessary investment to guarantee universal access to communication networks (Internet) and digitalization of homes, as well as training in digital skills and abilities, especially for students with greater difficulties, so that the digital gap does not deepen the educational breach.

From Fundación Secretariado Gitano we place ourselves at the disposal of the educational administrations to offer our collaboration and ensure a safe, but also equitable and inclusive return to the classroom for Roma students. We continue our activity of orientation and educational reinforcement, supporting and accompanying Roma students and their families (we are working annually with more than 3,400 male and female students to contribute to their school success); a work that we have intensified in recent months to reinforce educational support for Roma students.

[1] Comparative study on the suituation of the Roma population in Spain in relation to employment and poverty 2018, Fundación Secretariado Gitano, 2019.

[2]  National Roma Integration Strategy of Spanish Roma 2012-2020 
[3] Comparative study on the suituation of the Roma population in Spain in relation to employment and poverty 2018,, Fundación Secretariado Gitano, 2019.
[4] Study-map on housing and the Roma Population. FSG, Ministerio de Sanidad, Servicios Sociales e Igualdad, 2016. 

[5] Population between 18 and 24 years old that has at most Compulsory Secondary Education and does not continue studying.
[6] This data refers to the entire Roma population over 15 years of age.