ECMI Working paper #98 is now online!

The ECMI Working Paper #98 is now online. The paper focuses on Bilingual education for Romani children.

The ECMI Working Paper #98 with a title “Bilingual education for Romani children: Theory and practice” is authored by Timothy Jacob-Owens.

Key issues with regard to educational attainment among Roma include widespread segregation, absenteeism, and high dropout rates.
Another common, though less frequently mentioned, limiting factor concerning educational attainment among Roma is language competence. The author suggests bilingual education as a measure to address the issue and provides an overview of the relevant international framework, as well as the overall concept of bilingual education and bilingualism. The author addresses the question “What are the current trends in education policies for Roma?” through discussing a specific case study of bilingual kindergartens in Romania.

Timothy holds an MPhil in Linguistics from the University of Bristol (UK). He was an intern at the ECMI in the beginning of 2017 working in the cluster Culture and Diversity under the supervision of Dr. Zora Popova.

Abstract

This paper examines bilingual education as a means of improving educational attainment among Romani children. The paper begins by discussing how bilingual education fits with the international legal framework concerning language education for persons belonging to minority groups. Drawing on current thinking regarding language acquisition, the paper then sets out some key theoretical linguistic constraints to be taken into consideration in the context of education policy design, focusing primarily on the age of onset of acquisition (AOA). Two possible bilingual education models, Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) and Developmental Bilingual Education (DBE), are then presented and compared. There follows a brief discussion of current trends in language education policy for Romani children, focusing on the EU framework for National Roma Integration Strategies and its implementation in member states. Finally, a case study of the Amare Rromentza bilingual kindergarten pilot scheme in Romania is considered in light of the theoretical background. The paper concludes that bilingual education for Romani children can have very positive results in practice and merits more serious consideration among policymakers.

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