Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees Announces Plan to Address Romani Education Problems
The Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, together with the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the end of February 2004, introduced an Action Plan on the Educational Needs of Roma and Members of Other National Minorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Action Plan is to have retroactive effect to the beginning of the 2004/ 2005 school year. With specific regard to access to education of Roma, the Action Plan identified five overarching goals with par-ticular actions required for the achievement of each. Within the framework of the Action Plan, the relevant authorities are responsi-ble for:
- Promoting systemic change in order to ensure accommodation of the educational needs of Roma;
- Removing financial and admin-istrative barriers to Romani school enrolment and comple-tion. Special budgetary means, based on available funds, should be allocated within the 2004 budget lines and progressively increased as conditions allow;
- Preservation of the Romani lan-guage and culture;
- Garnering the support and par-ticipation of Romani parents and communities; and
- Increasing the representation of Romani teaching staff and sen-sitising non-Romani teaching staff to the needs of Romani students.
In other news related to the education of Romani pupils in Bosnia and Herzegovina, on March 2, the Republika Srpska-based news agency SRNA reported that a conference was held in Banja Luka regarding the education of Roma children in el-ementary schools in Republika Srpska. Ms Olivera Damjanovic of the international non-govern-mental organisation Save the Children, which organized the event, stated that "a small per-centage of Romani children at-tend elementary schools, and it often happens that children who start school soon stop their edu-cation." A number of Roma chil-dren had been enrolled in schools during the 2003/2004 school year, most of whom were reportedly attending integrated classes. However, according to the Republika Srpska-based daily newspaper Glas Srpske of Janu-ary 5, 2004, a segregated Romani class, attended by thirty-three Romani pupils, was formed at the Jovan Ducic elementary school in Bijeljina.
(Glas Srpske, SRNA, ERRC)