Overcoming the challenges of Traveller education for inclusion

Image: Ian Dooley / Unsplash.com

Traveller education concerns school-age children who are part of Traveller communities, such as Roma or circus communities, and who often lack regular or sustained access to education. Ensuring the inclusion of Travellers in education will reduce prejudice and discrimination, as well as improving their participation and learning outcomes. The following are some examples of successful Traveller education programmes.

Head in the Clouds: digital learning to improve school achievement

Head in the Clouds is a project funded by the European Commission that aims to prevent early school leaving, as well as enhance the development of a range of competences and digital education, mainly with Roma communities. It aims to break the vicious cycle of educational disadvantage and exclusion which leads to insufficient integration in the labour market and  society in general.

The project is being implemented in Kosovo, Slovakia and Romania and provides open educational resources for young people aged 6 to 16. The materials offer ideas for activities in the domains of digital competence, including computer programming, English, environmental awareness, video making and other daily life skills. The resources may be used in schools as well as non-formal learning settings (including in- and after-school programmes, learning centres, at home). The resources are available in English, Slovak, Hungarian and Serbian.

Watch this short documentary created by the project team to learn more about the project and the practical work done by children:

Good Start for All: development of inclusive education methods for pre-school children from socially disadvantaged or culturally diverse backgrounds

The mission of the Erasmus+ project Good Start for All is to support teachers, social workers and parents by providing them with the best care for children. According to the Eurydice Key Data on Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in the Europe 2019 report, 22.5% of children under the age of six in the EU are at risk of poverty or exclusion, a number which is likely to rise with the current influx of refugees into Europe. This project focused on the possibilities of cooperation among informal education settings, with kindergartens aiming to support the inclusion of children from socially disadvantaged or culturally different environments.

The main activities of the project included:

  • A report on national policies for inclusive early childhood education and care in partner countries;
  • A description of inclusive strategies, methods and practices;
  • A training programme for partner organisations’ staff;
  • An online conference for experts, researchers and other actors working in the field of early childhood education.

This good practice guide represents the final output of the project.

Local Engagement for Roma Inclusion (LERI)

Local Engagement for Roma Inclusion

LERI is an action research project developed in response to the  European Commission’s Communication on an EU Framework for National Roma integration strategies. It brings together local authorities and residents, in particular from Roma communities, to investigate how they can best be involved in Roma integration actions, and identify which aspects of these actions work, which don’t, and why. The aim of the project is to facilitate the engagement of all local stakeholders in joint efforts to enable Roma inclusion.

The project has been implemented in 11 countries, all of them following different action plans according to the needs of the target group. In Helsinki, Finland, for example, the project aims to increase dialogue and strengthen cooperation between local authorities, service providers and the Roma community. On the other hand, in Lille, France, most Roma still live on campsites, so the regional strategy foresaw the creation of 200 houses in inclusion areas through a dedicated housing project, which also provides integration support in areas such as French language training, labour market access and education. The following video shows the action taken for the inclusion of Roma in Medway, UK: