Why pre-school education
Several studies underline that the earlier quality pre-school education starts for socially underprivileged children, the better to equalize access to education. At the same time, segregation of children (even in pre-schools) leads to poorer schooling outcomes later on.
Together to Pre-school project in Ostrava
Quality pre-school education and desegregated primary schooling for socially disadvantaged Roma and partially even non-Roma are the main aims of the evaluated project. It has been implemented by Beleza Ostrava o.s. White Rhinoceros (Bily Nosorozec o.p.s.) in two Ostrava neigbhorhoods: Poruba and Mariánské Hory – Hulváky. The main donor is the Roma Education Fund; the Ostrava Municipality was an official partner and co-funder. The project has been operating from November 2012 and is expected to run till October 2015.
Mid-term project evaluation
This mid-term external evaluation was conducted by Inka Pibilova and Iveta Klusakova from January to March 2015. It summarizes the project’s progress since its beginning in November 2012. Specifics of the methodology are below:
- It was participatory – key stakeholders were involved in the inception, field research as well as final stages.
- To assess the quality of pre-school education, about 25% of children have gone through individual diagnostics.
The methodology is explained more in this 3-page article (in Czech).
- The project is unique – it is a part of the established system, it provides comprehensive support to underprivileged families and engages in advocacy to key institutions.
- It managed to engage 123 children, i.e. more than planned. Most of them were placed in preschools or non-segregated primary schools.
- It has enhanced knowledge, skills and attitudes of involved families.
- The Mothers´ Clubs (tailor-made pre-school education) were of a good quality.
- More pre-school and school directors were engaged, thus children joined a variety of schools.
- Attendance to the Clubs and pre-schools was rather low mainly due to migration, health issues, difficult adaptation and inadequate clothing or shoes. Migration was the main reason for drop-outs.
- A key issue was the fear of parents of non-segregated schools (with fewer than 30 % of Roma children or socially disadvantaged children) and their insufficient understanding of all options especially with respect to primary schooling.
- The project was not sustainable as yet, but had a great potential – it needed to be further developed and financially supported.