REYN Slovakia

Roma Population

In the last Census of 2011, 105 738 people were identified as members of the Roma minority. Statistical estimates and sociological mappings vary. Some claim there are about 500 000 Roma living in Slovakia. The Atlas of Roma Communities (2013) gives a qualified estimate of about 403 000 Roma living in Slovakia, which represents around 7,4% of the total population. In Slovakia, the population of children younger than 16 is about 15,3%, whereas amongst the Roma this demographic represents 39,4%.

Main Goals

Advocating for quality early childhood education and care services to be provided for Roma children. Improving the professional development opportunities for early childhood practitioners working with Roma children.

Increasing the advocacy power and influence of the network.

Creating positive changes and conditions through the organizing of advocacy activities for including good ideas and improvements from the REYN Slovakia members into the national and regional policies.

Providing REYN members with professional development activities that will improve their knowledge and skills to work with Roma children in the most disadvantaged Roma communities (sharing experiences and good practices through social media, trainings, internships and in cooperation with other national REYN networks).

Sharing experiences and knowledge with REYN members, parents, politicians, educators through the social media with the aim to deliver the good practice to more municipalities and wider public.

Main Challenges

  • Participation of Roma children in kindergartens is disproportionately low at 18% compared to 72% for the non-Roma population. In addition, participation of Roma children in kindergartens reflects an intergenerational downward trend. Fewer Roma children now access pre-school education compared with parent and grandparent generations.
  • Slovakia lacks legislative framework, policies and national strategies aimed at comprehensive and prioritized early intervention and care.
  • Although the Education Act prohibits discrimination and segregation, the Act is not sufficiently specific and robust to prevent or reverse such practices.
  • Because a substantial percentage of Roma families live in extreme poverty, the dire circumstances in which young Roma children often grow up seriously restricts their access to quality ECEC. Very poor parents typically cannot sustain the hidden costs and charges associated with participation in kindergartens. Improving ECEC affordability for children from disadvantaged backgrounds needs to become a key strategy to increase participation in ECEC.

Activities Carried Out

– Professional development activities for REYN members – trainings, workshops and study visits.

– Advocacy Conferences organized with the aim to promote the importance of ECD activities for young Roma children and their parents.

– Advocacy roundtables for Municipality and National stakeholders.

– Membership in the advisory bodies of State and non-governmental committees and institutions.

– Internship opportunities for REYN members in NGO sector.

Ongoing Activities

  • Trainings for REYN members.
  • Advocacy roundtables and conferences.
  • Membership of the advisory board for Inclusive education of the Ministry of Education of Slovak Republic.
  • Active participation in the Committee for Children and Youth of the Council of the Government of the Slovak Republic for Human Rights, National Minorities and Gender Equality.
  • Active participation in the Consultation platform of the Ministry of Education and non-governmental organizations for inclusive education of Roma pupils.
  • Active participation in the Commission for Integration of Vulnerable Groups in Education, Work and Society.
  • Active participation in the Committee on Research, Education and Training in Human Rights and Development Education.

Main Outcomes

– Participation in the project “Inclusive school” realized by the Ministry of Education of Slovak Republic and Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France.

– Active participation on updating of National Strategy for Roma Inclusion until 2020.

– Participation of RECI+ report development and its presentation to a wider professional public.