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More than one hundred young people participate in the VIII National Meeting of Roma students of the Fundación Secretariado Gitano [editar]

During the Meeting, held from September 28 to October 1, the closing of the educational innovation pilot programme Promociona Digital took place.


More than one hundred young people participate in the VIII National Meeting of Roma students of the Fundación Secretariado Gitano

Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) has held its VIII National Meeting of Roma Students in Madrid, where more than one hundred young people from all over Spain gathered. These are students from the FSG's Promociona educational programme, which seeks to promote the educational success of Roma students, working towards a degree in compulsory secondary education and continuity in studies. 

During the 14 years of life of this programme, it has shown that, with adapted educational actions, the success data of Roma students increases: 88% of 4th year of compulsory secondary education students participating in Promociona have graduated and 93% continue with post-compulsory studies.

Although the educational situation of Roma students has improved in recent years, education is a fundamental right that is not yet sufficiently guaranteed. With a gap that begins to open before completing compulsory secondary education, the data show a clear situation of inequality, according to the FSG study Educational Situation of Roma students in Spain, 2023. The results of the study reflect that 40% of Roma students drop out school when they turn 16. Early abandonment occurs, among other reasons, due to the greater repetition of courses and the progressive educational gap. The school failure rate (young people between 16 and 24 years old who do not graduate from compulsory secondary education) continues to be much higher (62.8%) than that of the general population (4%).

The lack of expectations towards Roma students, educational segregation, the invisibility of successful educational role-models, the absence of the history and culture of the Roma people in textbooks, or the digital divide they face, are some of the difficulties that are diminishing and shortening the educational trajectories of Roma boys and girls.  

Sara Giménez, president of FSG
Sara Giménez, president of FSG

Promociona digital, a pilot educational innovation programme to close the digital divide

The digital divide that Roma students face is one more factor of inequality that hinders their educational opportunities and therefore their future opportunities. According to the FSG study, 22% of Roma families still do not have an internet connection at home; 6 out of 10 do not have digital devices (tablet or computer) as a study support tool and 2 thirds of homes do not use digital media to study.

Improving the digital skills of Roma students and their families to guarantee school success and achieve their full incorporation into digital citizenship is the reason that drives Fundación Secretariado Gitano to launch Promociona Digital. This educational innovation pilot project has been developed since 2020 with financing from the European Social Fund within the framework of the Operational Programme for Social Inclusion and the Social Economy and the collaboration and co-financing of Deloitte.

At the closing of Promoción digital, held during the National Student Meeting, its main results were presented, among which its implementation in 51 locations in 13 Spanish regions stands out. It has had the involvement of 80 professionals and the participation of more than 700 students and their families. Among the actions launched are personal digital study plans, loans of computers and digital material with network accessibility, training in robotics and programming and other online actions such as educational reinforcement or mentoring, to go much further and to many more Roma students.

Among those participating in the event, Javier Urrecha, head of Social Action at Deloitte, pointed out the pride of having FSG as an ally and the importance of training and education: "It is important to train. There are many opportunities. Just as there is risk. There is a huge job opportunity."

Ernesto Gasco, High Commissioner against Child Poverty, pointed out that "working with the Roma people, ensuring that they have equal opportunities, must be a country's pact."

Sara Giménez, president of Fundación Secretariado Gitano, warned about the "substantial gap between the Roma community and the majority society in terms of poverty and education." "The State and the Administration cannot look the other way."

Educational meetings as an incentive to continue studying

The celebration of the National Meeting is one of the educational actions carried out by FSG in the field of education. It opens a space for exchange, reflection and encounter between students who have to face barriers and make a greater effort to achieve better educational results.  

The vast majority of students are traveling without their families for the first time to an educational participation space, which they share with other young Roma from different locations and where they find role-models to follow, to reinforce their desire to continue studying. 

STEAM skills and digital skills

STEAM skills, digital knowledge and the visibility of Roma leaders in this field have been the thematic axis that has guided the contents of the Meeting, together with the challenges, successes and priorities of the educational situation of Roma students, framed in the guarantee of rights and social justice. 

The students have worked on the difficulties they face and on proposals to bridge the digital divide in their educational pathways. And, on the other hand, they have met successful Roma leaders who are making important contributions in the field of science and STEAM skills, such as Rowena Marín, global Business Development Lead at the Google Office in New York. Science, artificial intelligence and web programming have been present in specific workshops to bring Roma students closer to technology and its possibilities and presence in the world around us.  

In addition, they have learned about the experiences of expert collaborators in pedagogical and digital issues within the Princess of Girona Foundation and the Telefónica Foundation on Campus 42 or Educalab.