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National strategy for Roma integration

Top goals of Slovakia’s national strategy for the Roma include eliminating segregation in schools and housing.

Council of Europe estimates: approximately 500,000 Roma live in Slovakia (9.17% of the population).

Slovakia’s Roma Integration Strategy

Slovakia's National Roma Integration Strategy defines the roadmap for public policies in the area of the social inclusion of Roma. In laying down policies focused on the gradual elimination of poverty and social exclusion among marginalised Roma communities, in particular in the areas of education, employment, health and housing, the strategy recognises the importance of developing local action plans corresponding and reflecting the needs of individual communities. The strategy foresees a territorial approach based on the ATLAS of Roma Communities updated in 2012.

Special attention is also paid to changing the attitudes of non-Roma towards Roma communities. The strategy relies on co-operation with all stakeholders involved in the process of Roma inclusion, including NGOs, churches, the media, academia, and the Roma themselves.

National contact point

Each Member State was invited to appoint a National Contact Point for the National Roma Integration Strategy, with the authority to co-ordinate its development and implementation. In the case of the Slovak Reublic it is the Slovak Government Plenipotentiary for Roma communities. The portfolio is under the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior.

Assessment of Slovakia’s strategy implementation

In Spring 2014, the Commission adopted its assessment on the progress made in the implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategies in the four key areas of education, employment, healthcare and housing, as well as in the fight against discrimination and the use of funding.

Promising practices

Amendment of the Antidiscrimination Act has introduced temporary equalising measures (positive action) that may be adopted on the grounds of ethnicity in all areas protected by the Act, i.e. employment, education, healthcare, social security and access to goods and services.

Getting more Roma into employment and education: A national project called 'Inclusive model of education at pre-primary stage of school system' aimed at improving the educational level of children coming from marginalised Roma communities. Through tuition provided by teaching and professional staff and the development of skills, pupils are prepared for their entrance in primary schools. The allocation provided was roughly €5 million.

Slovak authorities have been implementing a two-year social innovation project (Investing in the early years) aimed at integrating Roma children into early childhood education and care. The project focuses on children’s physical, social, emotional and cognitive development. It aims particularly at empowering families (mothers especially), preparing children for the transition to compulsory education, improving teacher-parent co-operation, changing the approach to raising children in segregated Roma communities, establishing a support network for Roma mothers within the communities and raising awareness of the importance of education within the Roma community. The two-year project, launched in 2013, is supported financially by the European Commission through the Progress programme and through other national funds. The overall budget is close to €1 million.

Another project is run by Banska Bystrica Regional Development Agency, aimed at providing job placements, supporting personal development and fighting marginalisation. The project ran between April 2012 and November 2013 with a budget of €600,000 (co-financed by the ESF). The 40 participants – who were all reliant on social benefits – received coaching to help them acquire basic work skills.