Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe: Roma Education Pilot-project:
After-School Tutoring for Roma Children

Grantee and implementator: Open Society Institute – Croatia


Following the Administrative Arrangement between the Council of Europe and the Open Society Institute - Croatia from November 2004, OSI Croatia has implemented After-School Tutoring Program for Roma Children, as the constituent part of the Roma Education Pilot Project in Beli Manastir, Baranja.

After-school tutoring program for Roma Children, elementary school Beli Manastir
Activity duration: November 2004 – February 2005

A) Program for children from 1st to 4th grade

This activity is organized in order to equalize the chances for good educational outcomes of Roma children, by offering them for free mentors programs including:
• Mentors assistance in writing homework
• Didactic and computer games
• Visits to the cultural and entertainment events
• Trips
• Creative workshops and activities
• Lunch (hot meal) every day of the working week

The tutoring/mentors’ program is organized after the obligatory school program, from 11.30 to 15.30 PM on a daily basis.

For this purpose the school provides suitable space (classrooms equipped according to the Step by Step child-centered methodology). Two experienced teachers, Melita Lesić and Margita Deanović, are employed as mentors. Both teachers have been trained in Step by Step methodology. Monthly visits of the Step by Step consultants to the mentors program are organized within the Project. Step by Step consultants help in developing Program and establishing the cooperation with Roma and non-Roma parents, which is crucial for the program success (children’s attendance, cooperation in developing different activities, individual approach to each child etc.).
A volunteering preschool teacher is also included in the program, helping teachers in group activities, creative workshops and individual homework supervision.

40 children from 1st to 4th grade, working in two groups are included in the Program. In order to offer the same conditions to all socially deprived children and to enable integration of the Roma children within the primary education, the Program is offered to non-Roma children as well. The group consists of ľ Roma and Ľ of non-Roma children.

Taking into consideration difficult economic position of the families, a hot meal is a very important part of the Program. The quality of meals is guaranteed by one of the biggest food concerns in Croatia, Belje from Baranja, which delivers fresh meals daily. The same menu is also delivered to the city kindergarten and other companies in the region (* invoices of the monthly amount for meals, as well as Agreement claiming the quality of meals, between OSI Croatia and Belje company, are included).

B) Program for children from 5th to 8th grade

Additional mentors’ assistance is organized for children from 11 to 15 years old. In Roma population a large percent of children (up to 80 %) drop-out of school system exactly in this age.

Three mentors (**Agreements on Work for each mentor are included) with experience in this kind of assistance, are engaged and their honoraria provided. The mentors are recommended by parents as well as by the biggest mentors’ agency in Baranja region. This Project has been designed to help the Roma population in education, but at the same time creates new jobs for teachers/mentors in Baranja region, having extremely high unemployment rate, as well as create partnerships within the local community, education institutions, Roma and non-Roma NGOs.

Mentor/tutors help is provided for the subjects considered most demanding by the children and teachers. Since socially deprived parents are not able to pay the mentors’ assistance, free mentors’ help is provided in school, after obligatory school program. This program is also offered to non-Roma socially deprived children. Roma children make 1/3 of the children included in the Program. Parents and children show great interest for this kind of help, therefore 45 children are included in mentors Program for 5 subjects.

Mentors help is provided in:

• Mathematics – 2 groups; 4 hours of mentors work per week (Mentor: Jasna Petrović)
• Chemistry - 1 group of children; 2 hours of mentors work per week (Mentor: Jasna Petrović)
• Foreign language (English) – 2 groups of children, 2 hours of mentors work per week (Mentor: Dušanka Cabunac)
• Foreign language (German) - 1 group of children, 2 hours of mentors work per week (Mentor: Gordana Čiča – honoraria partly paid by the OSI Croatia)
• Croatian language and literature - 1 group of children, 2 hours of mentors work per week (Mentor: Vera Marković- honoraria paid by the OSI-Croatia)

Mentors are coordinated by coordinator school Ms. Zdenka Baković and Education coordinator from Roma community Ms. Ružica Petrović, who is communicates regularly with teachers of the students included in Mentors program. They design common strategies for improving educational outcomes of students, motivating children for actively participating in education activities.
This measure is a direct prevention of the drop-out of Roma children. Leaving school system (usually in the age of 11-14) prevents young Roma from getting job positions and achieving satisfying social status, which are the main obstacles for social integration.

Evaluation and monitoring:
The whole Roma Education Pilot-Project is systematically monitored and will be evaluated. The evaluation team (Ms. Petra Hoblaj, MA; Ms. Vesna Ciglar MA) has developed the evaluation concept (***included in the report), and designed several instruments for measuring the Project success. The evaluation monitors the change in:

• educational outcomes of children
• attitudes and professional knowledge of teachers in school and kindergarten
• attitudes and opinions of parents towards education institutions
• education infrastructure

The pre-testing is made by the monitoring team in March and the post-testing is planned after first year of project implementation and after the Project is finished, in autumn 2006.
The results of the project would be publicly presented, presented on the web-site and shared with the relevant ministries, NGOs, local communities. The evaluation report will be delivered to the Council of Europe as to one of the main Project partners.

Follow up and sustainability of the Roma Education Pilot-project:
OSI - Croatia plans to continue this kind of activities within the Roma Education Pilot Project from March to July 2005, and in the next school year (2005/2006).
OSI - Croatia is also developing fundraising activities for successful continuation of the Project, together with its implementing and financial partners.
At the same time, OSI continues negotiations on the Project sustainability after 2006 with the local authorities in Baranja, as well as with the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, that recently showed repeated interest for cooperation on the Project. In this context, OSI-C considers extending the Project to other locations in Croatia, within the framework of the Roma Decade (Roma Education Fund) activities.

OSI Croatia highly appreciates the support from the Council of Europe, which recognized the Project as strategically important for Roma community in Croatia. Furthermore, we appreciate all the efforts of the Council of Europe in monitoring of the implementation of the National Program for Roma as well as of the Roma Decade Action plan, especially in the field of education. Quality education for Roma stays one of the main strategic goals of the OSI Programs.

OSI-Croatia would welcome any further support of the Council of Europe in the field of Roma Education in Croatia, in which, apart from preschool programs organized by the Roma NGOs and OSI-C Project, systemic changes are still to be made.

Jagoda Novak
Roma and Education Coordinator

Zagreb, 11February 2005
Čakovec, 12 February 2005