Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-ssw5r Total loading time: 0.687 Render date: 2022-08-16T23:32:22.401Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Chapter 3 - Roma in Higher Education

Access Denied

from Part I - Encountering Marginalisation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 September 2020

Jacqueline Bhabha
Harvard University, Massachusetts
Wenona Giles
York University, Toronto
Faraaz Mahomed
FXB Center for Health and Human Rights
Get access


One in every hundred Romani youth enters higher education in Europe. To justify this educational dearth, policymakers, scholars and practitioners have often reproduced the same racecraft about Roma: they form part of an inferior culture that does not value education. This racist ideology has not only fed a false moral justification but also buried any potential sense of concern and urgency among policymakers regarding the dramatic underrepresentation of Roma in higher education. In this chapter, we argue that public education has historically been an institution designed for gadje (non-Roma) (although less so for gadjo girls and the poor), while Romani children and youth, seen as ‘inferior and nomadic others’, have had no functional option for quality education and even less for higher education. We explore patterns of exclusion, fear, racism and racialised poverty. We show that schools and universities today remain highly unwelcoming for Romani children and youth, failing in large measure to address pervasive structural racism or to advance inclusion and equity. We conclude that education reform needs to start by dismantling the racecraft of ‘inferiority’ from ideology, policies and practice.

A Better Future
The Role of Higher Education for Displaced and Marginalised People
, pp. 59 - 83
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Ahmed, S. (2012). On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life. Raleigh: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Altbach, P. G., Davis, C. H., Eisemon, T. O. et al. (1989). Scientific Development and Higher Education: The Case of Newly Industrializing Nations. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
Bhabha, J., Matache, M., Chernoff, M. et al. (2018). One in One Hundred. Available online at Scholar
Bogojević, et al. (2003) quoted in Pesikan, A., & Ivic, I. (2016). The Sources of Inequity in the Education System of Serbia and How to Combat Them. CEPS Journal, 6(2), 101124.Google Scholar
Brophy, J. (1998). Motivating Students to Learn. Boston: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
Civil Rights Defenders (2017). The Wall of Anti-Gypsyism. Roma in the Republic of Serbia, Stockholm. Available online at Scholar
Council of Europe (2017). Fighting School Segregation in Europe through Inclusive Education: A Position Paper. Available online at Scholar
Deem, R., & Morley, L. (2006). Diversity in the Academy? Staff Perceptions of Equality Policies in Six Contemporary Higher Education Institutions. Policy Futures in Education, 4(2), 185202. Scholar
Djordjević, T. R. (1924). Iz Srbije Kneza Milosa. Stanovnistvo – naselja. Beograd: Geca Kon.Google Scholar
Dotcho, M. (2012). The Health Situation of Roma Communities: Analysis of the Data from the UNDP/World Bank/EC Regional Roma Survey 2011. Roma Inclusion Working Papers. Bratislava: United Nations Development Programme. Available online at Scholar
European Commission (2012). Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council, Koninklijke Brill NV. Available online at Scholar
European Commission (2014). Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. Report on the Implementation of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies, Brussels. Available online at Scholar
European Commission, DG Education and Culture (2014). Proposal for Key Practices of a Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care. Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
European Roma Rights Centre (2003). Segregated Education for Romani Children in Serbia and Montenegro. Available online at Scholar
European Roma Rights Centre (2010). Europe’s Highest Court Rules Roma School Segregation by Language Illegal. Available online at Scholar
European Roma Rights Centre (2016a). Romani Children Segregated in Serbian Kindergarten. Available online at Scholar
European Roma Rights Centre (2016b). Written Comments by the European Roma Rights Centre for Consideration by the European Commission Concerning Roma Inclusion in the Western Balkans Progress Reports 2016. Available online at Scholar
European Roma Rights Centre (2017). ERRC submission to the European Commission on the Enlargement Component of the EU Roma Framework. Available online at Scholar
European Union, European Court of Auditors (2016). EU policy Initiatives and Financial Support for Roma Integration: Significant Progress Made over the Last Decade, but Additional Efforts Needed on the Ground. Available online at Scholar
Fields, K., & Fields, B. (2012). Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life. London, New York: Verso.Google Scholar
Fundamental Rights Agency Statements in European Commission (2018). Commission Staff Working Document Evaluation of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020, Brussels: 2018, 4.12.2018 SWD (2018) 480 final.Google Scholar
Fundamental Rights Agency (2012). The Situation of Roma in 11 EU Member States. Available online at Scholar
Fundamental Rights Agency (2018). Fundamental Rights Report 2018. Available online at–2018Google Scholar
Galtung, J. (1969). Violence, Peace, and Peace Research. Journal of Peace Research, 6(3), 167191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gillborn, D. (2006). Rethinking White Supremacy: Who Counts in ‘WhiteWorld’. Ethnicities, 6(3), 318340. Scholar
Government of Serbia (2010). Strategy tor Improvement of the Status of Roma in the Republic of Serbia, Belgrade. Available online at Scholar
Government of Serbia (2016). Serbian National Strategy for Roma Inclusion. Available online at al_Strategy_for_Roma_Inclusion_2016–2025.docxGoogle Scholar
Government of Serbia (2017). Strategy of the Social Inclusion of Roma in Serbia for the Period from 2016 to 2025, Quoted in Civil Rights Defenders, The Wall of Anti-Gypsyism. Roma in the Republic of Serbia. Available online at Scholar
Gray, P. (2008). A Brief History of Education. To Understand Schools, We Must View Them in Historical Perspective. Available online at Scholar
Guy, W. (2001). The Czech Lands and Slovakia: Another False Dawn? In Marushiakova, E. & Popov, V. (eds.), State Policies under Communism, Roma History (pp. 293310). Strasbourg: Council of Europe.Google Scholar
Henricsson, L., & Rydell, A. M. (2004). Elementary School Children with Behaviour Problems: Teacher-Child Relations and Self-Perception. A Prospective Study. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 50(2), 111138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hinton-Smith, T., Danvers, E., & Jovanovic, T. (2018). Roma Women’s Higher Education Participation: Whose Responsibility? Gender and Education, 30(7), 811828.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hoyland, J. (1816). A Historical Survey of the Gipsies; Designed to Develop the Origin of This Singular People, and to Promote the Amelioration of Their Condition. York: William Alexander.Google Scholar
Joksic, T. (2015). Discrimination of Roma in Serbia. [online] Available online at: Scholar
Jovanovic, T. (2013). Teaching Competencies as a Means of Overcoming Roma Educational Exclusion in Serbia: A Critical Appraisal of Current Policy. MA. University of SussexGoogle Scholar
Jovanovic, T. (2018). Roma Student Access to Higher Education in Serbia: Challenges and Promises. PhD. University of Sussex.Google Scholar
Juvonen, J., & Graham, S. (2001). Peer Harassment in School: The Plight of the Vulnerable and Victimized. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
Karanovich, M. (1979). The Beginning of Girls’ Education in Modern Serbia, 1838–1858. Balkan Studies, 20(2), 429441.Google Scholar
Kovács-Cerović, T. (2006) National Report Serbia. In Zgaga, P. (ed.), The Prospects of Teacher Education in South-East Europe (pp. 487527). Ljubljana: Pedagoška Fakulteta.Google Scholar
Macura-Milovanović, S. (2008b). Barriers to the Inclusion of Roma Children. 30 April 2012, Scholar
Macura-Milovanovic, S. (2013). Pre-primary Education of Roma Children in Serbia: Barriers and Possibilities, CEPS Journal 3. Available online at Scholar
Matache, M., & Barbu, S. (2019). The History of School Desegregation for Roma. Available online at Scholar
Matache, M. (2017a). Biased Elites, Unfit Policies: Reflections on the Lacunae of Roma Integration Strategies. European Review, 25(4), 588607. Available online at Scholar
Matache, M. (2017b). Dear Gadjo (non-Romani) Scholars … .Boston: FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University.Google Scholar
Matras, Y. (2014). I Met Lucky People: The Story of the Romani Gypsies. Harmondsworth: Allen Lane, Penguin.Google Scholar
McGarry, A. (2017). Romaphobia: The Last Acceptable Form of Racism. London: Zed Books Ltd.Google Scholar
McKown, C., & Weinstein, R. S. (2002). Modeling the Role of Child Ethnicity and Gender in Children’s Differential Response to Teacher Expectations.Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 32(1), 159184. Available online at–1816.2002.tb01425.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Milanković, J., Ivkov-Džigurski, A., Đukičin, S., Ivanović, B. L., Lukić, T., & Kalkan, K. (2015). Attitudes of School Teachers about Roma Inclusion in Education, a Case Study of Vojvodina, Serbia. Geographica Pannonica, 19(3), 122129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mintz, S. (2012). Education in the American Colonies. Available online at Scholar
Mirza, H. S. (2006). ‘Race’, Gender and Educational Desire. Race Ethnicity and Education, 9(2), 137158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nelaj, D., Kaçiu, E., Dundo, J., & Dervishi, Z. (2012). Factors Affecting Roma Integration in Albania: A comparative study. Open Society Institute for Albania, Institute for Development and Research Alternatives. [online report]. Available at: affecting-roma-inclusion- in-albania-final-docx.pdfGoogle Scholar
OECD (2012). Equity and Quality in Education: Supporting Disadvantaged Students and Schools. Available online at Scholar
OECD (2018). Education at a Glance 2018: OECD Indicators. Available online at Scholar
Olweus, D. (2003). A Profile of Bullying in Schools. Educational Leadership, 60(6), 1217.Google Scholar
Olweus, D. (2007). What Is Bullying? Center City: Hazelden Foundation.Google Scholar
Open Society Institute (2007). Monitoring Report: Equal Access to Quality Education for Roma. Available online at Scholar
Open Society Institute (2010). Research on Schools and Classes for Children with Developmental Difficulties: Roma Children in ‘Special Education’ in Serbia: Overrepresentation, Underachievement, and Impact on Life. Available online at Scholar
OSCE/ODIHR (2013). Implementation of the Action Plan on Improving the Situation of Roma and Sinti within the OSCE Area Renewed Commitments, Continued Challenges Status Report. Available online at Scholar
Pesikan, A., & Ivic, I. (2016). The Sources of Inequity in the Education System of Serbia and How to Combat Them. CEPS Journal, 6(2), 101124.Google Scholar
Phillips, C. (2011). Institutional Racism and Ethnic Inequalities: An Expanded Multilevel Framework. Journal of Social Policy, 40(1), 173192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pisarri, M. (2014). The Suffering of the Roma in Serbia during the Holocaust. Available online at Scholar
Roma Education Fund (2007). Advancing Education of Roma in Serbia. Country Assessment and the Roma Education Fund’s Strategic Directions. Budapest: REF.Google Scholar
Romani CRISS, CURS, Roma Education Fund (2012). Absenteismul cadrelor didactice şi situaţia elevilor romi din şcolile primare din. Bucharest: O analiză exploratorie.Google Scholar
Rorke, B. (2016). 25 Years after Yugoslavia: Roma Exclusion (Part 1). Available online at–1Google Scholar
Rorke, B., Matache, M., & Friedman, E. (2015). A Lost Decade? Reflections on Roma Inclusion 2005–2015. Available online at Scholar
Rubin, K., Both, L., & Wilkinson, M. (1990). The Waterloo Longitudinal Project: Correlates and Consequences of Social Withdrawal in Childhood. Waterloo: University of Waterloo.Google Scholar
Sameroff, A. (2010). A Unified Theory of Development: A Dialectic Integration of Nature and Nurture. Child Development, 81(1), 622.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Shonkoff, J. P., & Phillips, D. A. (2000). From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
Spasenovic, V., Petrovic, A., & Maksic, S. (2015). Serbia. In Horner, W., Dobert, H., Reuter, L. R., & von Kopp, B. (eds.), The Education Systems of Europe, 2nd edn (pp. 710724). Geneva: Springer International.Google Scholar
Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia and UNICEF (2014). Serbia Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey and 2014 Serbia Roma Settlements Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, Key Findings. Available online at–08/MICS5_2014_SERBIA_Key_Findings_and_Roma_Settlements.pdfGoogle Scholar
Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia (2011). Census, 2011. Available online at Scholar
Stewart, M., Rovid, M., & Vid, M. R. R. (2011). Multi-disciplinary Approaches to Romany Studies. Budapest: Central European University Press.Google Scholar
Pankhurst, S. (1918). Education of the Masses, Dreadnought Pamphlet No. 1. London: The Dreadnought Publishers.Google Scholar
Telles, E., & Paschel, T. (2014). Who is Black, White, or Mixed Race? How Skin Color, Status, and Nation Shape Racial Classification in Latin America. American Journal of Sociology, 120(3), 864907.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
UNDP/World Bank/EC regional Roma survey (2011). Roma Inclusion Working Papers. Available online at Scholar
UNDP (2017). Regional Roma Survey 2017: Country Fact Sheets. Available online at Scholar
UNICEF (2009). When Special Means Excluded, Roma Segregation in Special Schools in the CEE/CIS Region. Geneva: UNICEF Regional Office for Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.Google Scholar
Walker, A., Sinfield, A., & Walker, C. (eds.). (2011). Fighting Poverty, Inequality and Injustice: A Manifesto Inspired by Peter Townsend. Bristol, UK: Policy Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats