Municipalities with urban schools and / or kindergartens with a predominant percentage of Roma students, which have developed municipal desegregation policy, ie. to bring the Roma students to host schools with majority of non -Roma students, will be able to receive financial support from the MES for that process. This will be done within the framework of the National Program "Assistance to Municipalities for Implementation of Educational Desegregation Activities", which is open for application by the end of June. What could be funded within this program and how to apply?
The National Program is innovative. Such a program has not been funded so far with funds from the State Budget. Its development was proposed by the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria and by Amalipe Center, with the support of the Ministry of Education and Science. It is coordinated by the Center for Educational Integration of Children and Students from the Ethnic Minorities ( the Center), a subordinate budget spending unit to the Ministry of Education and Science.
Elligible costs within the program
The program will finance expenditures that municipalities have had to set aside from their budgets or from different projects so far. First of all, these are costs for intеrnal transport from the Roma neighborhoods to the mainstream schools. Such costs cannot be covered within the framework of the funding for central schools, as it concerns only closed schools in another settlement. The national program can also cover costs for teaching materials and additional work with students, integrated in mainstream / host schools. The program does not cover the appointment of educational mediators as it is based on the premise that the mediators from segregated schools will support this process. Within the public discussion in February, Amalipe Center pointed out that such a prerequisite was difficult to implement, but the correction made concerned only the cost of appointing new mediators to be recognized as co-financing by the applicant municipality.
Who can apply?
Only municipalities can apply on the program as they are the real subject of desegregation policies for segregated Roma schools. The requirement for the applicant municipalities is to carry out desegregation activities in a settlement with at least three educational institutions, one of which is segregated. The program does not apply to rural schools - they cannot be identified as segregated. The program can also be implemented in towns where there is no segregated school or kindergarten, but there are separate neighborhoods with predominantly Roma population and a risk of secondary segregation of educational institutions. This is an important opportunity for preventive activities aimed at interrupting the process of secondary segregation, which is available both in big towns and smaller settlements.
An obligatory requirement is that the applicant municipalities have an up-to-date plan or other policy paper for the implementation of educational desegregation that has been adopted by a decision of the Municipal Council. Keep this in mind, as City Council sessions are usually at the end of the month. It also requires an action plan to implement the educational desegregation in the respective municipality as well as a signed agreement with the respective host schools or kindergarten.
Please note that the municipality can only offer as a host institution schools or kindergarten that do not receive funding under Art. 52a of the Financing Ordinance, ie school or kindergartens with low concentration of pupils or children from vulnerable groups. On the contrary schools or kindergartens from which children will be transported should be institutions with a high concentration of vulnerable groups.
Do the projects within the program require co-financing?
Yes. Co-financing of 10% is needed.
How to apply?
The application is simple and does not require bureaucratic work. Municipalities should submit a project proposal on an approved form to the Center, a long with a budget form, partnership agreement, and other supporting documents. It should be emphasized that the forms are free of unnecessary bureaucratic details and are easy to fill in.
What are the deadlines?
The program is open until June 30, 2019, and the projects refer to the school year 2019/2020.
Why to apply?
Implementation of policies on educational desegregation as well as prevention of secondary segregation is one of the most wise and strategically correct investments that local government could make. The damages from segregated education are well known - in the vast majority of cases, children get poor education and are unprepared for the labor market and for life. Moreover, learning in a segregated educational environment is a kind of time bomb, as children and parents from both ethnic groups do not communicate with each other, which is a serious prerequisite for ethnic conflicts and tension.
At the same time, the process of segregation is intense not only in big towns but also in small settlements. Many schools and kindergartens, which have taught different ethnic groups in the past, are becoming segregated Roma institutions, as many Bulgarian parents and more educated Roma move their children to other schools and kindergartens. Local government should not be impartial to this process as it runs quickly, reproduces easily, and forces the municipality to look for painful and unpopular solutions to the problems at a later stage.
The implementation of municipal policies for desegregation also involves inalienable costs, and the National Program offers a unique opportunity to cover them from the state budget. Do not miss this opportunity!
... and more
Note that a change to Ordinance 10 allows children from Roma neighborhoods to be directed to and enrolled in other neighborhoods, even over the approved school reception plan, even in municipalities where the neighborhood principle applies. This is provided in Article 43a of Regulation 10, which enables the desegregation process even in the largest municipalities.
More about the National Program "Assistance to Municipalities to Implement Educational Desegregation Activities" see here (in BG)
Please refer to the Center's web site for the application documents.