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Coalition of Roma NGOs of Ukraine published appeal on Roma Day
Coalition of Roma NGOs of Ukraine published appeal on Roma Day

The coalition of Roma NGOs of Ukraine "Strategy 2020" congratulated Roma people all over the world with a national holiday, drew attention to the acute problems in the sphere of education of Roma children in Ukraine and developed recommendations to Cabinet and Ministry of Education of Ukraine. You can readthe text of the appeal below. 

Roma in Ukraine have the same problems, as well as representatives of national minorities in other European countries, namely: low level of education, high unemployment, poor health of Roma children, the absence of documents confirming the identity, the low level of housing conditions, the existence of prejudice against the Roma.

Monitoring report "Status of implementation of the state policy towards the Roma" presented on June 24, 2015 showed that the current Plan of the Strategy requires changes and bring it in line with international and European standards in the sphere of ensuring legal and social protection of Roma, access to education, but also requires the development of practical mechanisms for its effective implementation in active cooperation with Roma communities.

Since the adoption and implementation of Strategy to improve the lives of our citizens, the Roma community itself does not feel these improvements.
For this purpose, the Coalition drew attention to the problems that exist in the field of education of Roma children in Ukraine and suggests the ways of their solution.

We have prepared the recommendations in accordance with the monitoring conducted in 2014 - 2015:

1. The educational level of the Roma population is currently extremely low, a significant portion of the population has no education (24%) - 50 000 people, while the share of those who are studying or graduated is considerably small (1%) - 2,000 people.

2. Difficult situation is with the state language. Almost every fourth representative of the Roma cannot read and write in Ukrainian (23% and 23% respectively).
Each third does it rather poor (33% read, 36% write). 14% of respondents do not know or rather do not speak Ukrainian, 12% do not understand it.
Public authorities see total ignorance of the Ukrainian language, as well as the general lack of education of the Roma population (the inability to read and write) as one of the main barriers of involvement of Roma in Ukrainian society. These issues significantly complicate the execution of documents, obtaining necessary information, negatively affect the overall quality of life of Roma in Ukraine.
Regarding specific actions for implementation of educational strategies representatives of state bodies note that they hold seminars and meetings with directors of schools, colleges, universities, aimed at creation of equal educational opportunities for Roma children. Although, they believe the unwillingness of the Roma to send their children to schools the main problem.
In the validation of the data received from state agencies we interviewed Romani families.
In the end, among the state agencies the Roma showed the best attitudes to schools (61% have good or rather good attitudes to education).

3.Coalition experts wondered why in such a positive situation, when educational institutions, schools want to teach Roma children and Roma families support the educational system, we have 24% illiterate Roma in Ukraine.

We came to the conclusion that among the main current problems most representatives of state bodies and the public specified the following:

- Low awareness among both the public and public representatives on the main provisions of the adopted Roma Strategy and its implementation plan;
- The lack of sufficient communication between all participants in the implementation of the Strategy; inadequate funding identified in the strategy programs, most are only on paper;
- The necessity of introducing extensive reforms, and hence a large number of time and material resources;
- Lack of the authorities sufficient information about the cultural peculiarities of the Roma population that causes biased attitudes to them and this leads to further marginalization and stigmatization of this social group.

Recommendations for public authorities:

For Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine:

To develop an effective concept of state ethno-national policy, which must become a state priority in the sphere of international relations;
To create the Interagency coordinating Council for coordination and monitoring of the action Plan of the "Strategy for the period until 2020" at the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine with the participation of representatives of relevant ministries, civil society and international organizations to draft amendments to the Plan in accordance with the needs of the Roma minority;
To engage the Interagency working group on expertise of representatives of international organizations and foundations, in particular, OSCE, Council of Europe, European Commission, IF “Renaissance” for the development of conceptual changes and the roadmap for effective implementation of the action Plan of the Strategy.

For the Ministry of Education of Ukraine:

To develop and implement training program / retraining of legal professionals in advising, legal services to persons who are illiterate or have very limited knowledge;
The interaction of academic staff with Roma public organizations and educational mediators for the purpose of attracting Roma people in the educational process; to take measures to reduce the number of Roma pupils who do not complete the course of study in high school;
To encourage the Roma youth receive vocational and higher education through state scholarships;
To ensure access to preschool education, General secondary education, extracurricular education for all Roma children in institutions irrespective of patterns of ownership at the expense of the state budget, local budgets and funds attracted from international and charitable organizations.
We hope that our joint work of all NGOs and associations will give positive results in improving the lives of Roma in Ukraine, and our recommendations will be taken into consideration and implementation by the Government of Ukraine at the national level.

Sincerely yours,
the President of the Coalition of Roma NGOs "Strategy 2020" Volodymyr Kondur.

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