High drop-out of school rate is one of the main preconditions for social and economic exclusion of Roma people. Children who leave primary schools compose the biggest share of school drop-outs. Almost 99,7 % of the children who should get enrolled at 1st grade do it but only 84 % of them attend 5-8th grade according to the National Statistic Institute. Many of the children who drop-out without obtaining even primary degree are Roma. According to a survey carried out by the Ministry of Education and Science Roma children compose 21 % of the students at first grade and only 7,8 % at 8th grade. This means that two thirds of Roma children who attend 1st grade drop-out without obtaining any educational degree.
The reasons for this are not only economic and language problems although decision-making factors usually point these two. Therefore, the problem with dropping-out in the primary schools would not be solved only with social measures (free food, etc.) which is the prevailing trend at present. Deep changes are necessary in the entire school curriculum and environment, directed to introducing intercultural education, life skills and interactive methods of teaching. Permanent work with Roma parents for engaging them with the education of their children and incorporating Roma parents in the school boards are additional steps needed.
Since 2002 Center “Amalipe” has been implementing the program “Roma folklore and culture in Bulgarian school” . Significant experience and successful local practices for ceasing the drop-out process have been generated within the program. Therefore, it is needed to summarize this experience and to form a comprehensive platform for preventing the drop-out process among Roma children.
For achieveing this aim Center Amalipe implements "Creating a model for decreasing the drop-out of school rate among Roma" project. Is is supported by America for Bulgaria Foundation. The project is implemented from July to October 2009.
The project goal is to create a platform for decreasing the school drop-out rate among Roma. It will be based on the experience gathered within Roma folklore program and other educational initiatives by teachers and other experts in Roma education. The platform will contain types of pedagogical activities for attracting and keeping Roma children at school, for empowering Roma parents and engaging them with the education of their children.
The project activities include:
1. Creative workshop “Successful practices for decreasing the dropout rate among Roma through intercultural education”
2. Preparing theoretical model for decreasing the dropout rate through pedagogical activities
3. Publishing pedagogical materials
4. Training of teachers
The America for Bulgaria Foundation (ABF) assists in the development and growth of a vibrant private sector for the benefit of a free and democratic Bulgaria. Founded in 2008, the ABF is a successor to the Bulgarian American Enterprise Fund, an investment fund created by the U.S. government acting through the U.S. Agency for International Development. The grants provided by ABF will build on the legacy of goodwill and friendship that exists between the American people and the citizens of Bulgaria.