Support for Roma Pupils in Finland
Finland has introduced measures to support young children from Roma backgrounds participate in quality basic education. Between 2008-2011 at total of EUR 1,8 million has been allocated to these measures. One highly successful approach is the introduction of school assistants from Roma backgrounds to support young Roma pupils.
Development activities for Roma pupils in basic education started in 2008 as a part of the larger development of the quality of basic education in Finland. In Spring 2008, municipalities were give, the possibility to apply for government subsidies to support basic education for Roma pupils. The total amount of government subsidy for this action during the years 2008-2011 has been EUR 1,8 million. During this time frame, 31 municipalities have received government subsidy. As a result, up to 80 % of all the Roma pupils have benefited from the subsidy.
The development activities aim at being long-lasting, nationally effective and holistic. They target not only pupils, but also their guardians, teachers and schools. Municipalities are expected to make these development activities permanent and part of the everyday life of the school. These activities include:
- Encountering the Roma pupil;
- Promoting tolerance and good ethnic relations and increasing the knowledge of Roma culture;
- Promoting contact between the Roma and majority population in the school community;
- Developing the identity of the Roma pupil;
- Promoting the learning of the Romani language;
- Promoting learning possibilities for the Roma pupils;
- Developing the education for Roma pupils in need of special support;
- Improving cooperation between the Roma home and the school;
- Taking into consideration the different background of the Roma pupils in the pedagogy whilst developing teaching material.
One way to support basic education of Roma pupils is to hire Roma school assistants. This measure has proved quite successful; nowadays there are many municipalities that have hired assistants from a Roma background in their schools with their own resources.
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