Roma communities have no interest in education

Scientific Evidence Platform Hoax Roma communities have no interest in education
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Roma communities are considered in the social imaginary (promoted in mainstream TV and social media) as those who have no interest in education, are perceived as backward, and Roma women subdued to men.

But scientific research as well as a non-biased approach to the community shows that what underlies all these stereotypes and prejudices against the community is the still existing anti-gypsyism. Such anti-gypsysism penetrates societal structures, and inter-personal relations.

Evidence reveals that the poor educational performance of Roma children cannot be attributed to a lack of “interest in education” of an entire ethnic community (something per se misleading), but due to systemic and interpersonal barriers faced at the time of having to navigate educational systems that are blinded to ethnic diversity, and which still working under segregationist dynamics (FP6 INCLUD-ED).

Take a look on the following data:

Background report on the educational situation of the Roma in the EU:

The EU Fundamental Rights Agency in a survey conducted in 2016 showed that Roma communities still facing segregation and discrimination: see,


Research articles:

However, there is a lot of literature across Europe and across the US that also reveals improvement in the persistence of Roma children in school, as well as in their access to higher education. Just a glimpse of this research can be consulted here:

Flecha, R. (2015). Successful Educational Action for Inclusion and Social Cohesion in Europe. Springer Publishing Company.

Aiello, E., Amador-López, J., Munté-Pascual, A., & Sordé-Martí, T. (2019). Grassroots Roma Women Organizing for Social Change: A Study of the Impact of ‘Roma Women Student Gatherings’. Sustainability, 11(15), 4054. doi: 10.3390/su11154054

Díez-Palomar, J.; Sanmamed, A.F.F.; García-Carrión, R.; Molina-Roldán, S. (2018). Pathways to Equitable and Sustainable Education through the Inclusion of Roma Students in Learning Mathematics. Sustainability, 10(2191), 701-716. doi: 10.3390/su10072191

Aubert, A. (2015). Amaya, Dialogic Literary Gatherings Evoking Passion for Learning and a Transformation of the Relationships of a Roma Girl With Her Classmates. Qualitative Inquiry21(10), 858–864. doi: 10.1177/1077800415614034

Flecha, R., & Soler, M. (2013). Turning difficulties into possibilities: engaging Roma families and students in school through dialogic learning. Cambridge Journal of Education, 43(4), 451–465. doi: 10.1080/0305764X.2013.819068




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Nerea Gutiérrez

The idea of lack of interest in education among Roma communities has been a long lasting prejudice which does not consider the scientific evidence that has shown the opposite. So, although it is widely spread that Roma families do not get involved at school and can only participate in routine tasks or informative meetings, research has shown that sharing a collaborative and egalitarian space in which all the people involved are equally treated, the Roma families build partnership and create confidence-based relationship with the teachers and the school. Consequently, far from being uninterested in education, Roma families’ involvement in their children’s education transform persistent inequalities into opportunities to learn and overcome racism or other systemic barriers, in which many vulnerable families are trapped. Making meaningful connections between the school and students’ lives, Roma communities foster students’ success and open new horizons for a better education and a better life.

Research articles: 
Claveria, J. V., & Alonso, J. G. (2003). Why Romà do not like mainstream schools: Voices of a people without territory. Harvard Educational Review, 73(4), 559-590.

Khalfaoui, A.; García-Carrión, R. & Villardón-Gallego, L (2020): Bridging the gap: engaging Roma and migrant families in early childhood education through trust-based relationships, European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, DOI: 10.1080/1350293X.2020.1817241 

Last edited 8 months ago by Nerea Gutiérrez
Rocío García

Those dynamics of egalitarian dialogue also occur in the “Roma Women Student Gatherings’ ‘where women from young girls up to ederly Roma women engage in meaningful discussions and share their concerns about their own and their children’s education. It is a powerful space where they discuss the barriers that are faced within the educational system and which actions are needed in order to overcome them. For all the students, and specially for those belonging to cultural minorities, such as the Roma, it is crucial to have role models. In the Roma Women Student Gatherings, Roma women (from different profiles and backgrounds) who have managed to get to higher education, serve as a successful role model and collaborate with a common aim: promote quality education among Roma women in order to overcome exclusion

Rocío García


Last edited 8 months ago by Rocío García
Gisela Redondo-Sama

I have had the chance to participate in research about Roma women and in the conversations with them, I have always been impressed by their trust on education for the future of Roma girls. Recently, I found the article published this year in the scientific journal Affilia. Journal of Women and Social Work entitled “The invisible feminist action of Roma families” by Munté, de Vicente, Matulic & Amador, (, which also presents evidence that dismantle this hoax.

Fernando Macías-Aranda

Only 1% of Roma have finished university studies, while almost 35% of the rest of the population have arrived to higher education. This huge educational gap is also observed during compulsory education. Only 30% of Roma students obtain a secondary education degree, when 60% of non-Roma students successfully pass this educational level. The anti-gypsy explanation about this educational gap is based on the stereotypes and prejudices against this community. People who call themselves “experts” in education, among others, continue to argue that the Roma people do not have success in education due to their culture, since they are not interested in education nor motivated enough.

Educational research has already demonstrated that this educational failure are related to educational practices that are not based on scientific evidences (“occurrences”). Some of these practices are the following:

  1. low educational and social expectations about Roma students and their families from teachers and other professionals.
  2. concentration of Roma students in schools with low academic performance (normally located in disadvantaged neighbourhoods with a high concentration of Roma population), where the official curriculum for the entire school is drastically reduced (tracking).
  3. concentration of Roma students in segregated classrooms with a low educational level, where the official curriculum is drastically reduced.
  4. individual curricular adaptations based on curriculum content reduction, under the premise that, since they are Roma students, they will not be able to follow the ordinary curriculum.

When educational system implements practices based scientific evidences (as the Successful Educational Actions, SEAs), Roma students and their families have social and educational success, even arriving to the university and beyond.

Scientific evidences

Díez-Palomar, J.; Sanmamed, A.F.F.; García-Carrión, R.; Molina-Roldán, S. (2018). Pathways to Equitable and Sustainable Education through the Inclusion of Roma Students in Learning Mathematics. Sustainability, 10(2191), 701-716. doi: 10.3390/su10072191

Flecha, R. (2015). Successful Educational Actions for Inclusion and Social Cohesion in Europe. (R. Flecha, Ed.). Heidelberg & New York & Dordrecht & London: Springer.

Flecha, R., & Soler, M. (2013). Turning difficulties into possibilities: engaging Roma families and students in school through dialogic learning. Cambridge Journal of Education43(4), 451–465.

García-Espinel, T., Santiago-Santiago, D., y García-Algar, M. (2019). Diseñando e implementando políticas públicas con y para la comunidad gitana. El impacto social del Plan Integral del Pueblo Gitano en Cataluña. International Journal of Roma Studies, 1(1), 84-119. doi: 10.17583/ijrs.2019.3957

Macías-Aranda, F., Sordé, T., Amador, J., & Aubert, A. (2019). Moving Towards Roma Inclusion in Spain Through Successful Educational Actions. In Andrea Óhidy & Katalin R. Forray (Eds), Lifelong Learning and the Roma Minority in Western and Southern Europe (pp. 139-162). Bradford, UK: Emerald Publishing.

Macías-Aranda, F., García-Espinel, T., Valls-Carol, R., & González-García, J. (2019). Del gueto a la universidad: el impacto de las actuaciones educativas de éxito en la inclusión social y educativa del pueblo gitano. En A. Arellano & M.A. Sotés (Eds.), Juventud gitana: retos educativos en la transición a la vida adulta (pp. 65-112). Barcelona: Graó.

Santiago, C., & Maya, O. (2012). Segregación escolar del alumnado gitano en España. Córdoba: Federación Nacional de Asociaciones de Mujeres Gitanas KAMIRA & Fundación Mario Maya.

Valls, R., & Kyriakides, L. (2013). The power of interactive groups: how diversity of adults volunteering in classroom groups can promote inclusion and success for children of vulnerable minority ethnic populations. Cambridge Journal of Education, 43(1), 17–33. doi: 10.1080/0305764X.2012.749213

Last edited 5 months ago by Fernando Macías-Aranda

En España, el índice de abandono escolar es un 19,4%, en comparación con el de la comunidad gitana, que es un 63,4%, donde la Comisión Europea dirigida al Parlamento Europeo contempla que este fenómeno está causado por factores individuales, educativos y socioeconómicos y afecta en gran medida a este colectivo. Tras estas afirmaciones que hacía la Fundación Secretariado Gitano, podemos ver que no es verdad que no tenga interés en la educación, sino que hay muchísimos factores que les afectan y que no tienen que ver con el interés antes mencionado. Por otro lado, esta fundación hace hincapié para la promoción educativa de la comunidad gitana, ya que consideran que la educación es un pilar básico del desarrollo de las personas y favorece la inclusión social y la igualdad de oportunidades.

Según el informe de discriminación de la FSG (2014), suele haber una discriminación en el ámbito educativo del profesorado al alumno gitano, donde usan un lenguaje negativo, hacen una insinuación despectiva, hacen referencia a los estereotipos asociados… (María Jesús Márquez García & Daniela Padua Arcos, 2016). Siguiendo con este artículo, ven la necesidad de combatir la discriminación en cualquiera de sus manifestaciones, donde lo social y lo educativo se transforme en una práctica común para mejorar la imagen social de la comunidad gitana y la ruptura de prejuicios y estereotipos, para poder darles esa formación educativa que se merecen.

En mi opinión, considero que hay una gran desinformación sobre estos colectivos, en los que los mitos suelen prevalecer y las personas nos los creemos si ni siquiera preocuparnos en buscar información sobre ello; algo que me parece un error, porque ahí ya estaríamos haciendo caso a los estereotipos, y por ello causando una segregación que va a afectar tanto a ellos, porque dan pie al abandono escolar y todos los problemas vistos, y para nosotros, que nos vamos a privar de conocer otra cultura y personas por hacer caso a las “diferencias” que puede haber, y que al fin al cabo todos tenemos unos con otros.  Por estas razones, pienso que la escuela debe estar más presente que nunca, porque la educación tiene el poder de cambiar estos pensamientos que nos impone la sociedad, y darnos información para construir nuestro conocimiento.

Fuentes bibliográficas:
Educación – Fundación Secretariado Gitano. (2012).

María Jesús Márquez García, & Daniela Padua Arcos. (2016). Comunidad gitana y Educación Pública. La necesidad de construir un proyecto social y educativo compartido. Revista Interuniversitaria de Formación Del Profesorado85, 91–101.

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