The importance of school for Roma pupils in Maribor Mag. Milanka Munda and dr. Sunčica Macura in dr. Mojca Peček
Summary: When analysing the reasons for poor school attendance and academic achievements of Roma pupils, experts often point out that Roma children and their parents have low respect for school and education. In contrast to their views research in Roma children and their parents shows that they may well have reservations about school but not because they have little respect for knowledge. Rather, they are afraid that in school they will be exposed to humiliation, ridicule, physical abuse and disrespect for their culture. In order to get our own answers what school means to Roma pupils, interviews were conducted with 77 Roma pupils attending primary school in Maribor. Our study shows that most Roma children included in the sample enjoy attending school and are aware of the importance of school from the perspective of knowledge acquisition and from the perspective of providing a better future. Additionally, our study shows that school for most children included in the project is a pleasant and important place where social contacts are established. The results are interpreted by acknowledging that the Roma children included in the study come from a socio-economic background that does not differ significantly from the majority of the population and in an environment in which a lot of attention is paid to making school an inclusive institution. The research project confirms that in order to successfully integrate Roma pupils in school and help them achieve good academic achievements it is necessary to implement change not only in the teaching methods and in the relationship between the teacher, the Roma pupil and his/her parents but also in the area of employment and housing.