Educational Challenges of Roma Minorities: The Case of the Republic of North Macedonia
Keywords:Roma people, biliteracy, unequal educational opportunities, ethnicity education, literacy practices
Linguistic diversity comes in various forms. The most common ways of developing knowledge of more than one language according to some authors are either by learning a second language through participation in some form of bilingual education or being raised in a bilingual environment, such as school or a bilingual family. The phenomenon of development of literacy competencies of minority groups, specifically, the context of Roma people, in the Republic of North Macedonia, whose mother tongue is not even considered a standard language is the main research purpose of this paper. Research conducted in comparative studies on integrated education shows that in the elementary schools with high numbers of Roma students actions are rarely taken to enhance the integration of these minority students, because of 1) the lack of iconography, which is important for the ethnic identity of this minority and 2) low competence level of parents and teachers who are not adequately trained to work with students coming from different linguistic backgrounds or social backgrounds that are characterized by low literacy levels and low learning competences. Participants in this study were from several primary schools in North Macedonia and the responses were categorized according to the major themes that occurred. The findings show how women are excluded from obtaining better education and that multilingual children from deprived economic settings with poorly educated parents struggle and are seriously challenged to obtain proper literacy and education in elementary schools. The study reveals important details about the educational legislation, treatment of Roma people by local and international organizations and provides suggestions for improvement of the current status of the Roma population.
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Copyright (c) 2020 Elena Rizova, Mira Bekar, Zoran Velkovski
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