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The Roma children’s low level of participation in education and the high dropout rate among them is seen often as the most problematic issue related to the social integration of Roma. The approaches however usually present the problem from the point of view of the majority, the responsibility for the failures being placed on the particularities of the Roma population. Due to the commitments to EU directives, the Educational Act includes regulations aimed at reducing the disadvantages of Roma children, but the results are hard to see.

The objective of this paper is to identify the barriers of learning and participation of the Roma children, embedded in the educational system, or resulted from the interaction of children with the educational context. The data were collected in the frame of two projects funded by Norwegian Grants, focused on the social and educational integration of Roma. This study is based on semistructured interviews, realized in order to understand the school-related experiences of the Roma people from Pata Rat, and to examine the ability of the educational system to meet the special needs of this population.

The results show that the characteristics of the educational system, like the focus on the achievement, the ranking of the schools based on the results on national evaluations favor the elitism and not the creation of inclusive school politics. Beside the effects of this kind of educational politics, the Roma children are confronted on daily basis with the prejudices and stereotypes embedded in the society related to their ethnicity. In this context, the chances of educational integration of Roma children remain low.

Keywords: inclusive schools, Roma children, barriers of learning and participation, learning motivation

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