Educational Policies In Spain And Hungary Education Essay

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Access to formal education is more important than ever in enabling individuals to maintain and develop living standards in Europes increasingly knowledge based economy. Formal education also plays an important role in promoting awareness of the diversity within society, as well as the recognition of our common humanity, providing the basis for our concepts of democracy and human rights (Save the Children, 2001:17)


The period between 2005 and 2015 is officially the Decade of Roma Inclusion within the European Union. However, amongst the "recently joined" member states, one could hardly recognize any attempts to introduce real integration policies. Even though the Roma migration in Eastern European countries is not as recent as, for instance the Turkish in Germany, the dilemmas are surprisingly similar in both sides of the union. Yet, the recent history of Roma in Europe - from the measures of Sarkozy in France to the "anti-Roma walls" in Slovakia - encourage us to analyse this particular question. Throughout my essay, I am trying to provide a brief historical comparison of the major educational measures in two different European countries, namely Hungary and Spain. Why these two particular member states? Because, I am convinced that these nations represent the most "extreme" examples: in Spain, the last couple of years were undoubtedly successful in the sense of Roma integration, meanwhile in Hungary, lets say, it was less noteworthy.


According to one of the latest online application of Google - which is counting the frequency of a certain phrase in English speaking literature between 1900 and 2008 - the word Roma shows an interesting data to understand. Our brief analysis suggested that there is a slow-paced, year by year increase in the appearance of this phrase since the early 1940s. However, there was a significant raise started in the 1970s and early 1980s, and another one around the beginning of the new millennium.

Google Ngram Viewer, 2011, Word: roma between 1900 and 2008

Many of these articles suggest that Roma communities across Europe are increasingly considered to be the largest and most vulnerable ethnic minority of the mainland (DCSF, 2010). The permanently growing poverty among Roma or Gypsies - especially in Central and Eastern Europe - has been one of the most serious developments since the 1989 transition from the socialist system. A recent survey found that almost 80 percent of Roma in Bulgaria and Romania were living on less than 3.30 euros per day (Yale dataset; Revenga et al. 2002). Further, it is widely documented that children from these communities experience the lowest levels of education, and as a result, have a long history of educational underachievement in Europe (Liegois, 1998).

Although historically, Roma people have always been one of the poorest of European societies, the extended decline of their recent living standards is unprecedented. During the socialist era, most of the Roma had jobs, however nowadays they should face with widespread unemployment rates and massive poverty. Several studies pointed out that Roma population is in a disadvantaged situation in almost every sense of life (Radó et al, 2002). Infant mortality and unemployment rates are significantly higher than the avarage. Meanwhile, their life expectancy and their income per capita is way lower than non-Roma European citizens. As a result, nearly each of their social exclusion indicators are worse than the majority of the population (UNDP webpage, Yet, the problem is even more crucial if we take into consideration their relatively high birth rates. One minister of education in a "recently joined" European Union member state said in an interview that in his country every third child who is entering school is Roma (Ringold, 2005).

Who is Roma, who is not?

As I already mentioned above, Roma people are the largest and most vulnerable minority group across Europe. However, unlike other minorities, we could never designate a historical homeland of the Gypsies. They have been settled in almost all of the European countries, as well as in Central Asia. Although the origin of Roma in Europe is a widely debated topic among scholars. Historical facts suggest that there were migration waves from northern India into Europe between the ninth and fourteenth centuries. But Roma, as an ethnic group is extremely diverse, and includes multiple subgroups based on language, history, religion, and occupations. While Roma in some countries are living nomadic lifestyle, in Central and Eastern Europe they have settled over time, some of them under the Ottoman rule, while others during the socialism.

According to Minority Rights Group's report (MRG), the population of Gypsy communities in Europe estimated between 7 and 8.5 million (MRG, 2005). Nevertheless, the size of the Roma population is a frequently debated issue. Datas provided by different surveys often unreliable, since many Roma do not identify themselves as a members of the group (Ringold, 2005). By most estimates, the rates of Gypsy has somewhere between 6 and 9 percent of the population in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania, and the Slovak Republic. However, we should emphasize that these shares will likely to grow in the future due to their high birth rates and the decreasing fertility amongst the population in general. The highest absolute number of Roma lives in Romania, with about one and two million people. We can also find large communities, between 400,000 and 1 million in Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia and Montenegro, the Slovak Republic and Turkey. In Western Europe, the largest Roma minorites are in Spain (estimated at 630-800.000), France (310.000), Italy (130.000), and Germany (70.000). In total, about 7 million to 10 million Roma people live in Europe. This number is the same as the population of Sweden or Austria.

Eastern Roma and Western Gypsy

In addition to the unreliable figures provided by surveys, the definition of Roma seems like a highly debated issue as well. Due to the various types of Gypsy communities, which we can find in several countries in Europe, the terminology that is trying to define them has always been a problematic one.

As Simhandl (2006) pointed out once, the official EU discourse is trying to describe these communities since the early 1970s. In the same time, both the European Commission (EC) and the European Parliament (EP) "called for an improvement in Roma living conditions" (Simhandl, 2006:97). Her article also argues that, as a result of these discourses in the past, today there is an agreement on the definition of Gypsies which embrace two different groups: "Eastern Roma" and "Western Gypsies".

The first category (Western Gypsies) embraces the terms Traveller, which often used to refer to Irish, Welsh and Scottish travellers, and Romanichals (including the German Sinti and English gypsy), and also "didicoi" or "gitanos", the most common Spanish phrases for Roma people. The Eastern Gypsy are usually named as 'Roma'. Since there is a common ground among these groups, although a complex one. There is a rooted belief of 'nomadism' and a particular need for 'mobility' and 'flexibility', especially in terms of employment (Cudworth, 2010:6).

Roma in education - No data, no progress

In sense of educational attainment, Roma, Sinti and Traveller communities across Europe are widely documented as who has the poorest educational results (The Situation of Roma in Europe, 2007, ENAR).

According to the Open Society Foundation (OSI), even the most general statistics concern to Roma children are highly insufficient (Open Society Foundation report, 2010). Datas about their attendance in the education system or their performance are missing particularly. Since there are no widely accepted indicators employed by all the countries either, the statistics are very unreliable both in the sense of quality and quantity as well.

Nevertheless, the latest reports, such as the ENAR Shadow Report (2007) pointed out that direct and institutional forms of discrimination against Roma in education is still a notable problem across the European Union. Problems, which mostly concern to Roma, Sinti and Traveller communities affect the access to education, segregation and the lacking provision of appropriate education that accommodates Romani language and culture. In Latvia, results from earlier studies also show that educational indicators of Roma people are significantly lower than other groups, which means lower enrollment and early dropout rates (Latvian Centre for Human Rights and Ethnic Studies, 2003). Besides that, Halász (2007) highlighted that the lack of positive role models, low parental involvement and educational attainment also fostering the lower expectations, stereotyping and racist bullying.

However, the still persistent segregation is one of the biggest problem amongst European Roma communities that limits the access to education, both as a result of spatial segregation in housing conditions and as institutional segregation within the educational system. Segregation of Romani children in "special classes" have been widely documented by reports from many countries including Latvia, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Romania, albeit educational segregation is forbidden by the law. Furthermore, Italian reports also underlined that a resolution by one of the district councils in Rome - which required the councilor for education - ordered the separation of Roma children from the others on school buses.

An other likewise problematic case - which became widely reported - was the trial of D.H and others vs. Czech Republic (also known as the special schools case). With its highly sensitive questions, the trial drawn attention to the over-representation of Roma students in institutions for mentally disabled children. In 1997, this same practice was observed in Hungary, where 64 percent of Roma children have been placed in these special schools, instead of general primaries, according to some estimates. Although it meant only 4 percent of the total population, Roma are 15 times more likely to end up in special schools than the national average (ERRC, 1999).

Education during the transition

The above mentioned lags in Roma education are not recent phenomenons in social sciences. After the Second World War, large proportions of Roma compelled to attend in public education, since one of the crucial element of the socialist assimilation campaigns embraced education policies. Despite these enthusiastic pursuits, under socialist regimes, the gap in educational attainment of Roma and the rest of the population was not bridged in any of the countries for which datas are available.

Several studies stated that despite a significant shift, educational gaps persisted during the transition period, and are most spectacular in analyses of educational levels of the population. Comparative surveys conducted in Hungary between 1971 and 1993 would portray these trends the best. While in 1971, only 26 percent of Hungarian Roma (aged 20-29) had finished eight years of primary school, this figure increased to more than 77 percent by 1993 (Kemény et al., 1994). However, Kemény also added that despite these achievements, Roma educational attainment significantly lagged behind the non-Roma population.

Enrollment differences between Roma and non-Roma imply that the gaps will also persist into the next generation. However, Kemény (1994) also pointed out that there are significant differences in the various types of Roma communities. For instance, the same survey highlighted that the share of Roma people with less than basic education was 23 percent for the Romungro Roma (whose native language is Hungarian), while 42 percent of the Bayash (Romanian as native language).

Who is to blame for?

The origins of the Roma "educational failure" are highly complex and widely discussed issues among both social scientist and politicans. Some of the reports underline the financial factors as the core of the problems. They frequently argue that the economic situation of the Roma families could explain all their lacks in education. Further, their crucial point is that the families simply are not able to afford the sufficient financial support which is needed for their children in schools. (Kyughukov, 2000; Cozma et al., 2000).

Another, more frequently highlighted factor in related articles is the Romani social and educational background. According to these theories, the most important point is that Roma children have already had disadvantages by their birth, at least in comparison to other children from non-Roma families. These scholars argue that when Romani students reach the age to enroll primary schools, the handicaps becoming even more visible. According to Svensson, they are not always sufficiently prepared for the school system either (Svensson, 2007).

An often mentioned reason on the "failing" Roma education in Europe is prejudice (Cozma et al., 2000). As Cozma pointed out once, in general, the non-Roma majority have a very negative attitude towards Romani people, which behavior also manifested on the educational level (Cozma et al., 2000; Posavec & Hrvatic, 2000; Svensson, 2007). In many cases teachers, students and parents have deep aversions against them as well. They describe Roma children as very difficult and problematic students, and hence they should be separated from the others. Not considering that these difficulties partly due of their cultural differences.

Hence the traditional way of raising Roma children characterized by words as transmitted orally, community-based, collective, practical, experimential and learning by doing (Kyughukov, 2000; Etxeberria, 2002). This particular type of socialisation has never been presented in the European classrooms (Etxeberria, 2002; Svensson, 2007). And this makes these institutions boring for Roma children and causes difficulties for the teachers to motivate them or to hold their attention (Igarashi, 2005). Not to mention that the vast majority of teachers do not have enough knowledge about Roma culture.

According to Járóka, three other factors that are often mentioned as probable causes of the failure in Roma education. First of all that, most of the Roma parents are not educated themselves (Járóka, 2007). Second, that there is a lack of communication between the teachers and the parents of the Roma children (Igarashi, 2005; Etxeberria, 2002). And finally, Roma families probably do not attribute the same values to school failure as non-Roma families (Salinas, 2007). Svensson (2007) disagrees with this and has written "that most Roma consider education important for their children, but that they face significant obstacles caused by poverty and discrimination."

Although most of the European countries accountable directly for their educational regulations, they often leave these duties for the local governments and municipalities. Therefore, in most of the cases these policies harmonized by international treaties and international organizations such as the European Union or the European Council. Usually, these institutions imply agreements together, and the particual states should adopt the pacts later. Despite the fact that the European Union is able to influence almost every political field of the member states, in the case of educational systems every country makes its own decision.



"Although Hungary has a history of successful integration of minorities, the Roma

community as a whole still await successful and realistic integration within the

system."(UNESCO, 2007:19)

The Roma minority is the largest ethnic group in Hungary. Their estimated population is between 800.000 to one million (UNESCO, 2007). Being such a large community, in theory, Hungary was always trying to develop its educational equality during the last fifty years or so. Further, the educational lag of Roma children was permanently in the highlight of Hungarian policy making (Radó et al., 2002). This particular attention have been justified by several reasons: numerous available statistics highlighted that the vast majority of Roma children are not successful in the Hungarian education system. Their drop-out rates and their grade retention is way higher than their non-Roma counterparts, meanwhile "school-age" Roma population increasing quickly.

According to a study by Havas-Kemény-Liskó (2002) found that around 15 percent of Roma children in Hungary do not continue their studies after the primary school. Moreover, 57 percent of them going to vocational schools (lower level of high school in Hungary), and only 20 percent studying in highschools. Amongst these shocking numbers, their participation in higher education shows the most astounding data: only 2 percent of Roma youth are studying in universities (Kóczé, 2002). Another surveys also pointed out that the drop-out rates are significantly higher among them, although in the last couple of years this share decreased moderately in the primary schools, its significantly increased in high schools.

However, the most notable problem in Hungary is still discrimination. For instance, the segregated classes for Roma children, treating them as private students, or in some extreme cases, sending them into special schools for mentally handicapped kids. These are only the most common and most well known practices applied by these institutions. Although, most of the studies (Réger et al, 1978) pointed out that long-term segregation is simply not working, the reintegration of these students will be more difficult than it would be originally. However, we should emphasize that every education form considered as segregation which is not provide any integration patterns to the broader society and which is not based on the particular claim of the parents. In this sense the schools that specially established as segregated institutions not considering segregation, for instance the Gandhi school in Pécs.

The above portrayed situation require complex approaches. As we already mentioned it before, in Roma education policies one should take into account the aspect of minority rights and equal opportunities. In other words, we have to consider the differences regard to Romani culture and language, appropriate teaching methods, motivation, discrimination in general, and finally the failure of Roma education programmes. As Radó underlined it in his research, we found these aspects in several combinations in the different places across Hungary (Radó, 2001).

Policy history in Hungary

Before 1944, the equality of people or human rights, in particular for the Roma communities, were not even part of the legal system, either the common belief of the citizens. Later, between the two World Wars, there was a moderated improvement of the attendence rates in primary education. Although, only about 50 percent of Roma children went to primary schools that time, and every twentieth student graduated actually from these institutions. Therefore, we could hardly speak about educational policies towards Roma during this period. Indeed, going to public education was not compulsory until 1945, although this year was revolutionary in a terms of educational enrollment. Participating in schools amongst Roma children increased to 63 percent in the second part of the 40s, and it became 91 percent at the begining of the 1960s decade (Kemény et al, 2001).

During the socialism

The first real decree that concerned directly to Roma people in education was a resolution in 1961 which was responsible to improve schooling in Hungary. This early attempt was a result of the urgent need for skilled labor in the rapidly developing socialist industry. Therefore, the party leadership was interested in the "production" of educated labor force. A survey then pointed out that the majority of Roma youth went to school only for 2-3 years, which is not enough to train them for any kind of professions (Mezey, 1986:240).

Further in 1971, there was a widely conducted report which stated that only one-quarter of 20 to 24 year old Roma finished primary school (Kemény, 1971). The study also highlighted the fact that the education system was not flexible enough to meet the real needs of these children (Forray, 2003:71). It was also suggested that the environment of the schools were "unnatural" for the Gypsy culture, and the parents were "unfamiliar with the school's middle-class language and regulations" (ibid).

Unfortunately at that time, likewise to Spain, the leaderships' solution was to create segregated Gypsy schools. These institutions usually consisted of "special schools" originally established for handicapped children. Although officially the segregation started only after the 1961 resolution, there were several reports about separated Gypsy schools in the Hungarian countryside years before that. According to Faludi, in 1956 the local council of Komló stated that Roma citizens could only settle in a certain territory of the town (Faludi, 1964). Faludi also reported that in 1960 in Kiskunhalas, they built a new school (Gypsy school) only for the towns' Roma children. The official policy was however an attempt to "abolish the illiterism" amongst these communities.

After the transition

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the first Hungarian governments have played an active role in establishing institutions and making policies to foster minority rights in general, but also supporting Roma communities in particular. Probably the most remarkable resolution have been introduced in 1993. At that time, Hungary adopted the so-called Minorities Act, which granted considerable cultural, educational, and linguistic rights to the 13 recognized Hungarian minorities through a system of national and local minority self-governments (MSGs). This system is a unique development of the country. Later in 1996 and 2003, other amendments of the previous act has been introduced which led to the permanent abolishment of segregation in schools.

These legislations provides clear evidence for Hungarys' commitment towards the promotion of social integration and inclusion with an emphasis on preserving the identity, cultural values and language of its Gypsy population. At the same period, Hungary has also established the Office for National and Ethnic Minorities (NEKH) and the independent Minorities Ombudsman to explore the incidental abuses against minority rights and the protection of them. After the elections in 2002, the government established the so-called Roma Office which was belongs under the Office of the Prime Minister, and its function was to coordinate Roma policy across the government.

On governmental level, several fundings have been distributed for minorities through multiple channels. Roma populations often benefit from general programs for minority groups. For instance, a big amount of budget allocations goes directly to the education of the minorities. Only in 1999, preschools, schools, and dormitories for national and ethnic minorities and for additional subsidies for non-minority bilingual educational institutions received 4.6 billion forints (Implementation Report, 1999). In the official school year between 1999-2000, the Public Foundation for National and Ethnic Minorities provided support for 586 Roma secondary school students and also for 111 Roma university students (ibid). Allocations from the central budget - particularly for Roma students - included those for the Roma local minority self-governments, the Public Foundation for Hungarian Gypsies, and the Gandhi Foundation. They received a high amount of government financing, first gaining around 325 million forints in 1997, and falling to 210 million forints in 1999. Despite these commitments, Roma children are still segregated in different institutions, and in many parts of Hungary (OSCE, 2000:73). In 2000, almost 80 percent of Roma children continued to be educated in separated schools (UNESCO, 2007).

Segregation in Hajdúhadház

The case of Hajdúhadház shows how could a poorly designed pursuit undermine a positive policy objective (Bernáth, 2000). In Hajdúhadház, like everywhere in the country, local governments receive some supports from the central budget to foster Roma education. However, these subsidies sometimes redeem the opposite results, and reinforce the segregation of Roma students. Hajdúhadház is a town with a population of 13.000 in eastern Hungary. About 2.400 of the residents are Roma, which share is increasing rapidly. The unemployment rate in 2000 was estimated at 40 percent in general, and 95 percent among Roma residents. Relations between Roma and non-Roma are generally characterized by segregation, hostility, and tension. Further, we could find significant segregation in the local schools.

According to the resolution that time, the schools have been obliged to establish the so-called "bridging" classes as well as courses on Roma culture. The original notion of these classes was to overcome the disadvantages of Roma children and also to reintegrate them into mainstream education. Children were learning the same material during the bridge program as the rest of the students, but they did it slowly and with less material. Unfortunately, as a result, while the claims were to bring Roma students to a similar level as the rest, their chances of returning to 'normal' classes are reduced in every year while they were participating at these classes. Therefore, these programs tend to maintain the segregated education with a lack of qualified teachers or resources. And still in 1998, 67 percent of the Roma students studied in a segregated environment within the local school (Bernáth, 2000). In addition, about 25 percent of Roma students in Hajdúhadház studied in special classes for the mentally handicapped children (ibid). However, 132 out of 156 students in these special classes were Roma according to the study in 2000.

The above mentioned challenges of Roma educational policies are evident elsewhere across the country. A study from 1997 states that the implementation of "catch-up" classes in Hungary is widespread, in the middle of the 90s they found catch-up programs in total 433 schools (Radó 1997).

As Pallaghy Hegyine pointed out, Hungary is in a situation of transition when it comes to Roma educational programmes and policies (UNESCO, 2007). Recent history of educational policies has demonstrated that financial supports targeted to the education of Roma children should be a significant part of the policies. To foster the integration, the Hungarian government has recently introduced a system of identifying students with multiple disadvantages, including parental illiteracy or massive poverty. Not surprisingly, 80 percent of the people who had been choosen were Roma. This programme envisages a financial support to those families. Along this policy - which was originally based on the Public Education Act in 2005 - the pre-schools obliged to accept those children with multiply disadvantages. This step was an important one towards the greater access of Roma children to early educational opportunities, however their acceptance still depends on the availability of a school place.


Spain has the second largest Roma population across the European Union. According to numerous studies (Salinas et al.), an estimated 800-970.000 gypsies are living within the territory of Spain, which is in total, the 2 percent of the whole population. Since the Spanish Constitution in 1978 prohibited the data collection on the basis of ethnicity, these numbers are often disputed among social scientists and politicans.

Although the Spanish Gypsies are the largest ethnic minority of the state, these communities "continue to suffer from a far higher degree of poverty, exclusion and vulnerability than the majority of the population" (Salinas, 2007:33). Most of them are sedentarised for more than 300 years, something that is unique to Spain. (Salinas et al., 2007). Despite that, and because Roma are the largest ethnic group of the country, the non-Roma majority is simply not considering positively their cultural traditions either (Cudworth, 2010:13). They are excluded from certain policies, and where they are not, the focus is often on their "problematic" issues such as marginalisation, unmanageability and absenteeism (ibid).

Nevertheless, the Spanish government is supporting Roma communities with about 36 million euros each year on projects that aimed particularly for them. As a recent article found (Kramer, 2010), the country has "finally embraced the Roma community, and giving them rights and celebrating" their history. And as a result of this, the traditional gypsy culture has today penetrated into the local mainstream society with flamenco and traditional dresses, especially in the region of Andalusia. However, as Gamella (2002) puts it, some Andalusian Roma communities are more likely to exhibit higher levels of integration, they coexist with persistently marginalized groups and a small minority of more affluent Roma (Gamella 2002).

There are several reasons for this high degree of social inclusion of Roma communities in Spain. Generally speaking, they are a very accepting and traditionally very warm and welcoming culture for newcomers. Yet, whatever the reasons are in Spain, only 5 percent of Gypsies living in makeshift camps and close to 50 percent recognized as homeowners. Therefore, we can say that the Spanish Roma community has certainly made the country their home. Recently, the most important resolutions in Roma integration were that Spain has concentrated on educational policies. Nowadays, almost every gypsy children could able to enroll in the primary schools, although only 30 percent graduating. Moreover, in contrary to the rest of Europe, over 85 percent of the gypsy community is literate. Although we are generally lack of any recent surveys, it is estimated that around 75 percent of Spanish Roma has some kind of regular income (Kramer, 2010).

Policy history in Spain

The experience of Spanish educational policies envisages a remarkable Southern counterpoint to the Central and Eastern European states. However, the direct attention of fostering the Roma inclusion in Spain started relatively late (Ringold et al, 2005). The gypsy communities were not even considered as legal citizens until the 1978 Constitution. And during the Franco era, Roma people have been treated as secondary citizens. The government was hindering their chances to study, work or even gather in groups of more than four. Nowadays things have changed completely. The Spanish government has made enormous efforts to integrate the gypsies to the non-Roma society.

After the Franco regime

After the death of Francisco Franco, education became widespread through the 1980s, although it was not compulsory until the year 1990. During the 1970s, especially when Spain finally established as a democratic state, many Roma associations were set up. Therefore nowadays we could find more than 600 Gypsy associations across the country. Although none of them have such an extended membership, and they represent only about 1 percent of Spanish Gypsies (Salinas, 2007:34). Their representation on government level was established by the formation of an advisory committee for the Gypsy Development Programme. This initiative included the first state-sponsored Roma associations.

By the end of the 1970s, they established the 'Spanish Association of Teachers with Gypsies' to enhance the engagement and achievement of schools. More recently (2006) the State Council of Gypsy People have been set up within the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, in order to promote communication channels between Roma organizations and the government.

The political system in Spain is highly centralized, although its divided into seventeen autonomous regions. Each unit responsible for the education, health, social services, culture, urban and rural development, housing and social issues. Therefore we could often find huge differences between these regions in regard of quality in these services. Although Gypsies can be able to represent themselves in the political system, in practice they should face with limited actual decision-making power for governmental resources and budgets. Spain has one elected Gypsy representative at the parliament (Juan de Dios Ramirez Heredia) as well as several Roma political parties. Unfortunately neither party has any noteable influence in the country.

From the early years of the Spanish democracy, the first important educational resolution that concerned to Gypsies was the introduction of 'bridge schools'. Originally these institutions were created for children with physical disabilities. But implicitly these schools only foster the segregation of Gypsy children from many public schools and also were only for children from the lowest socio-economic status as recognized by the Catholic Church and the Ministry of Education (Salinas, 2007).

A Royal Decree was introduced in 1983, although not solely for Roma students, but in order to prevent low achievement of certain children in the system. This decree considered social status, low socioeconomic levels and place of residence. There was suggested that in some areas should have more teachers, resources and services. It was also an attempt to build a more inclusive system in regard of gaining admission to schools (ibid).

Until 1988 the schools for Roma children gradually became more host and welcoming. However segregation was still a common practice and sometimes Gypsy students have been sent to compensatory education in separated classrooms, or in special institutions, mostly in bridge schools (Yagues, 1989). Besides even though the schools that successfully 'integrate' Roma, many non-Gypsy parents started to complain about the growing failures by their children (ibid).

Despite the listed criticism above, the Resolution in 1989 and the whole Spanish educational legislation (M.E.C. 1991) has gone way further in fostering equal opportunities, respect and cultural solidarity, specific legislation aimed at Gypsies, than anywhere else in Europe.

Finally, there was a frequently cited opportunity for Roma youth, namely 'The Gypsy Secretariat Foundation Acceder program'. This program was focusing on unemployed young Roma people, who could actually participating in a technical training program. At the end of the education they could get a a degree and an appropriate job. This method has proved incredibly successful.

In sum, as Etxeberria pointed out, the crucial problem seems to be the lack of legislations which supporting Roma children directly (Etxeberria, 2002). The current Education Law that passed in 2006, however its acknowledge the cultural diversity and intercultural education, its not refer directly to the Roma heritage. According to Salina: 'There is a generalised policy - although no one dares voice it explicitly - of avoiding investment in Gypsy-related matters, due to the assumption that Gypsies have the same opportunities as everybody else and that they are not attending school because they are not interested' (Salina, 2007:46)


After the brief summary of the educational policy history in Hungary and Spain, we could able to draw up the similarities and the differences between the two countries, in regard of measures for Roma educational inclusion.

First of all, probably the most important and surprising finding of the comparison was that there is no such a significant difference in educational policies in the two countries. Although this means that the original problems were very similar. The general failures in educational achivements and the lack of attendance in schools among Roma, the establishment of segregated schools and classes, sending Roma children to special institutions for mentally challenged, the permanent exlcusion from policies and the extended hostility by the non-Roma majority have been found in both countries.

Meanwhile, Hungary was trying to solve these problems with direct, state controlled programmes towards the communities, Spain introduced more general decrees (not always targeted to Roma people) for every minority. Therefore, we should certainly ask the question that what are the reasons that there is a significant deviaton between Hungary and Spain in sense of Roma inclusion.

The most evident and simplistic answer would be that historical differences make these variations among the states, but this insight suggest a longer elaboration of the issue and there is no space to explicate it within this article. However, we should consider the fact that after the transition the whole Hungarian industry ceased, therefore most of the Roma lost their jobs and remained without any kind of useful knowledge in a capitalist system.

Nevertheless, the success of some single programmes can also explain the achivements of Spain. For instance, although the Spanish legislation system could rarely foster the direct decrees to develop the conditions of Roma, they were able to introduce some really succcessful programmes such as the 'The Gypsy Secretariat Foundation Acceder program' which was not only provided education, but also a profession and job at the end of the training.

Finally, we would state that even though educational policies have some effect on the achivements of the Roma minority, according to our insights, its only a limited one, and probably the historical records can be able to explain more in regard of success.