Inclusion of Roma Children in Public Education in Albania

Project location: ALBANIA, Tirana
Project start date: June 2018 - Project end date: May 2019
Project number: 2018-011
Beneficiary: Qendra Konkret

The “Esmeralda Pre-School” in Tirana is developing and introducing – on the basis of mid-time work-experiences with Roma community –a pilot programme for a pre-school with Roma children. The integration of Roma children into public schools in early period of life in Albania and in the long run the project establishes a higher self-esteem of Roma children and increases their participation and success in the future. The project in the preschool in Tirana is implemented according to the methodology “step by step”, taking into account the state curriculum for preschools. The program used is the same of the Ministry of Education and Sport and is the same program used in all the pre-schools of Albania. The only difference is that in the case of Roma Pre-school, Roma children are also taught good behaviour and hygiene in the first months. From the preparative aspect, the children are gradually integrated into the normal public schools, where they have more equal chances and better preconditions for a bigger success.

The pre-school works from 7 years now and currently has every year approximately 15-20 children registered. The main purpose of the project is helping in the education of young Roma children by creating appropriate conditions to study and have a warm meal during and after school. In accordance with the Law on Education, school attendance is mandatory for all children in Albania above the age of six. Unfortunately, many Roma children drop out of school before completing the nine years of mandatory schooling. In collaboration with “Roma Women of Tomorrow” a non-profit organization, the project will aim creating in the future also after-school classes where the pupils will have the possibility to be helped with their homework and have a meal in an appropriate environment. By giving to these children equal possibilities we can contribute on their mentality of dropping school before completing the nine years. They are taught to study in early age and we believe that this helps them in the future.

“The Esmeralda preschool” is located in Tirana, the capital of Albania and from seven years now helps roma children integrate in everyday life by continuing the studies. The children are chosen from families that cannot afford education. One of the objectives is also to integrate in the future together Roma and non-Roma children in the same classes. After the preschool, the children continue the public school. All the girls that have been part of the first Roma Pre-School continue the sixth grade now, some of them in Tirana and some abroad, and for the first time there are Roma girls continuing the sixth grade in the public school “Bajram Curri”, all of them have started studding in the “Roma Pre-school”. In the neighborhood, there are no similar preschools and cost free for the families (this is also a reason why the requests for the families so that they children can join us are very high).

The Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation has awarded a grant for this project.
The main objectives of the project are:
• Increasing the number of Roma attendees in public school on age between 5-7 years in Tirana, Albania;
• Improving capacities of Roma parents directly for supporting and encouraging development and education of Roma children;
• Improving social skills and proficiency in Albanian language of Roma children;
• Raise the public consciousness about the problem with Roma children

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