Macedonian Government Institutionalizes the Profession of Roma Educational Mediator

The Government of the Republic of Macedonia recognizes and institutionalizes the profession of the Roma Educational Mediator as a good practice and a positive outcome from its long-term cooperation with the Budapest-based Roma Education Fund.

A similar event of institutionalizing REF introduced project-based practices has been acknowledged in Montenegro as well.

The Ministry of Education and Science of Macedonia published a Public Call for engaging 20 Roma Mediators in primary education in 16 municipalities for the 2018/19 school year. The deadline for applications is 08 May 2018.

View the call here.

The Educational Mediators are needed to help the inclusion of Roma children in primary education, to assist towards the continuity and retention of Roma pupils in the educational process, and to facilitate the communication between the school, the parents, the community, the local government and the civil sector.

The mutual efforts between Roma Education Fund and the Government of Macedonia towards Roma educational inclusion have had strong evidence. It has been twelve years since Roma Education Fund entered into its first partnership with the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. REF has initiated model for early school leaving to improve success, reduce dropout rates and increase knowledge of the language of instruction and mathematics of 1600 Roma children per school year who attend 4th, 5th and 6th grade of primary schools The model was implemented by the Macedonian Ministry of Education and a consortium of eight Roma NGOs. One of the key elements of this project was the participation of 78 tutors (university students and unemployed graduates) who provided afterschool classes and monitored the attendance rate of children in regular classes together with the community mediators. The fact that many tutors were Roma graduates proved to be additional motivation for young Roma pupils.

The partnership of REF and the Macedonian Ministry of Education and Science around 1600 Roma school-age children per school year from 4th, 5th and 6th grade, or 100% of the eligible target group, went on to enrol in their local primary schools with the indispensable assistance of 20 Roma Educational Mediators, working in 16 municipalities in 49 primary schools in Macedonia, only in the 2016/17 and 2017-18 school years.

Apart from the primary education, Roma Education Fund has been collaborating with the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of Republic of Macedonia under IPA-funded projects, on introducing Second Chance educational programs for Roma adults. 332 Roma adults obtained either primary of secondary school diploma, as 10% of them found employment thereafter.

In addition, the Secondary Scholarship and Mentoring Program, co-financed by REF and the Macedonian government since 2009, has led the way in providing scholarships and rich academic and tutoring/mentoring support to Roma students attending secondary schools across Macedonia. With REF providing technical assistance, supervision, and monitoring and evaluation functions, and the Ministry of Education of Science leading the implementation, thousands of secondary education students have passed through this program, around 600 every school year.