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The Fundación Secretariado Gitano organises a working table with regional authorities to combat the school segregation of Roma pupils [editar]

FSG Igualdad y Lucha contra la discriminación

The Fundación Secretariado Gitano organises a working table with regional authorities to combat the school segregation of Roma pupils

On 17 September, the Fundación Secretariado Gitano organised a working group with regional authorities to reflect on effective measures implemented by public authorities to combat school segregation of the Roma population. In the online session, which lasted two hours, participants included experts from the Ministry of Education and from the boards of education of Castile and Leon, the Community of Valencia and Catalonia.

The aim of the session was to reflect on and debate the best ways of eradicating the school segregation of Roma pupils, based on the measures already put in place by some public authorities. School segregation represents a significant barrier to educational success for Roma pupils, as well as being a form of discrimination and an infringement of the right of Roma boys and girls to high-quality, inclusive education.

The working group was moderated by Mónica Nadal from the Fundació Jaume Bofill, who also introduced the session. She reminded participants that the problem of school segregation did not appear on the political agenda until a few years ago, given that “our society normalises inequality”. However, various authorities have recently started to take significant measures, which should lead to this problem being solved in the medium term.

Daniel Turienzo, from the Subdirectorate-General for Regional Cooperation and Educational Innovation, represented the Ministry of Education. Turienzo outlined the various measures planned to tackle school segregation in the reform of the Organic Law of Education which has been proposed by the Ministry and is currently passing through the Spanish Parliament. These measures focus primarily on issues such as pupil admissions, the principle of non-discrimination and the reserving of places for pupils in need. He also announced that the Ministry is working with the Fundación Secretariado Gitano on a study designed to provide an approximate picture of the situation of school segregation for Roma pupils in Spain.

Javier Silvano from the Service of Educational Guidance and Equity in Castile and Leon, who directed the Programa 2030, outlined the basic principles of this programme. It was set up in March 2018 with the aim of fostering high-quality inclusive education, through the prevention and elimination of school segregation on the grounds of socio-educational vulnerability. As he explained, the programme includes a set of measures directed at pupils in a situation of socio-educational vulnerability, with the aim of remedying and enriching their education. The measures are also directed towards publicly-funded centres which suffer, or are at risk of suffering, situations of high socio-educational complexity, offering a response which is flexible and tailored to their needs. Javier Silvano also reported that to date, 30 schools in the region have signed up to the programme.

After that, two representatives from the Service of Educational Inclusion at the Department of Education, Culture and Sport in the Valencian Regional Government explained the measures taken in recent years to improve educational inclusion in the region. Mónica Añón mentioned a series of recently- or soon-to-be-approved legal instruments such as the Inclusive Education Act, the Plurilingualism Act, the Ordinance of Measures for Inclusion and the PREVI (Plan for the Prevention of Violence and the Promotion of Co-existence). Alexandra Uso explained the measures included in the educational and cultural plans which form part of the Community of Valencia’s Roma Strategy to reverse segregation. These measures will have an impact on admission processes, on the resources held by centres, on the stability of the teaching workforce, on the improvement of facilities and on the establishment of limits on the proportion of pupils requiring compensation.

María Jesús Larios from the Síndic de Greuges, Ombudsman of Catalonia, also spoke, setting out the findings of a study carried out by her institution on the phenomenon of school segregation in the region. Finally, Jordi Rodón of the School Board of Catalonia explained the main features of the Decree on Admissions approved in the same region, among which should be highlighted the fact that it addresses not only segregation among centres, but also segregation within centres or even within classes.

Finally, there was an interesting debate which illuminated the need to carry out studies to uncover the various causes of segregation at all levels; the importance of taking a multifactorial perspective in order to reverse school segregation; the value of involving all agents in the educational community (from families to institutions) in designing inclusive educational policies; and the need to provide resources to segregated schools in order to improve the quality of the education offered in these schools and foster greater stability of the teaching and non-teaching workforce.

This event took place within the framework of the European project “No-segregation”, carried out by the FSG with other European countries and funded by the European Commission. This project’s aim is to find better solutions to the school segregation of the Roma population, which hampers the education of Roma boys and girls all across Europe. The project also benefits from the involvement and collaboration of the Ministry of Education, and this event received co-funding from the Office of Human Rights at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The conclusions of the working group will be set out in more detail in a summary document, which will also contain various cartoons by the illustrator Sandra Carmona, who attended the event and showed the group some of her work in person.

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