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41 Roma students from post-compulsory levels reflect on citizenship and the digital divide [editar]

Students from all over Spain take part in the 1st State Meeting on STEAM competences and digital citizenship at Campus42 in Malaga

FSG Educación

41 Roma students from post-compulsory levels reflect on citizenship and the digital divide

The Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) organised the 1st State Meeting of Roma students at post-compulsory levels, bringing together 41 high school, vocational training and university degree students from different Spanish cities.

15 Roma girls and 26 Roma boys from 22 Spanish cities participated in this space which the FSG organised, for the first time, in the framework of the Promociona Digital programme. It is an educational innovation project funded by Deloitte and the Operational Programme for Social Inclusion and the Social Economy - Axis 6 Social Innovation - of the European Social Fund that aims to train students and their families in digital skills in order to reduce the digital divide among Roma students.

The inequality gap in higher levels of education is alarming: only 9% of young Roma between 20 and 24 years old have completed compulsory secondary school or intermediate vocational training and 2% have completed higher education, while these percentages are 40% and 21% respectively for the population as a whole (Roma students in secondary education: a comparative survey. Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. FSG 2013). However, the number of Roma students moving on to post-compulsory education has grown considerably in recent decades. 

The students who participate are part of Promociona+, one of the FSG's programmes aiming to ensure that Roma students graduate from post-compulsory education.

STEAM competences and digital citizenship as a working thread

STEAM skills, digital citizenship and the visibility of Roma people who are leaders in this field were the main topics of the meeting. Specifically, the students had the opportunity to take their first steps in HTML, CSS and Java Script. This framework guided the reflection on the challenges, achievements and priorities of the educational situation of Roma students in post-compulsory education, framed in the guarantee of rights and social justice.

On the one hand, Roma students themselves worked on the difficulties they face and what tools should be used to bridge the digital divide in their educational pathways.

Participation in the educational life of the school was another of the topics discussed. The ways and spaces for participation that the centre and the educational context offer should also be led by Roma students and their families.

This statewide meeting provides access to educational networks that welcome and connect more and more young Roma, who are making a firm commitment to education even in an educational context that, although striving to be increasingly inclusive, is still harder for some students than for others. 

Educational meeting as a motivation to continue studying

This meeting opens a space for exchange, reflection and coexistence between students who, to a large extent, have to face specific barriers and difficulties that do not exist to the same extent for their classmates. They must therefore make a double effort to achieve educational success. For most of them, it is not only an educational opportunity to receive support and encouragement, but also an opportunity to strengthen their personal growth.

For many of them, it was the first time they were able to enjoy a space for participation without their families, related to education and digital skills, in which they were accompanied by other young Roma and could found role models to follow and reinforce their motivation and enthusiasm to continue studying.

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