International Conference on Scholarship programs

11-12 December 2008

An international conference on scholarship was organized by Roma Education Fund (REF) and Resource Center for Roma Communities Foundation (RCRC), in Romania, Cluj Napoca in 11-12 Dec 2008

The goal of the meeting
was to analyze successes and difficulties in managing a complex scholarship program involving mentoring, to disseminate knowledge of Roma Scholarship programs among the Conference’ participants, who were all REF grantees, and to identifying the possibilities of scaling up the program into a national policy.From five countries …. Organizations participated. Researcher, government representatives also contributed to the meeting.

Outcomes of the meeting are:

  • List of lessons learnt in implementing Scholarship programs
  • Examples of good practice in providing scholarship to Roma students
  • Examples of good practice in handling difficult cases
  • A list of possibilities for scaling up the scholarship program into a national policy
  • A policy note about the necessity of scholarship program
  • Commitments of the stakeholders on accessing Structural Funds
  • Working group on scholarships
  • A list of monitoring and evaluation instruments for scholarship programs

The organizers considered the event as a knowledge transfer working conference. RCRC, supported by a grant from REF, has been implementing a scholarships program for high school students for two years. RCRC and REF are therefore planning this conference as an international working meeting with countries that have been implementing or are planning to implement similar scholarship programs. The positive impact of these initiatives is obvious in all countries where scholarship programs are running and therefore was necessary to explore ways of scaling up such initiatives. The event was an opportunity for sharing of experience and good practice, exchanging monitoring and evaluation instruments, and creating a working group on scholarships. We shared experiences of additional support mechanisms, like tutoring, mentoring, summer camps, weekend clubs, and other ideas for improving the achievements of the supported students.
There was a vivid discussion about paying back; how grantees can give back to the community the support they had received from REF, how can or should they participate in Roma movement.

The event was structured more like an information and knowledge transfer workshop; therefore we proposed round table type and group working meetings carefully moderated discussions for each block.
The major ideas of each session / topic (e.g. grantee selection, support for grantees, ways of scaling up, monitoring and evaluation, Roma identity component etc.) was recorded and displayed in the conference room for additions outside of the sessions. The conclusions / outcomes of each session were shared by the moderators.