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Serbia: Enhancing support for Roma students through pedagogical assistance

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Serbia: Enhancing support for Roma students through pedagogical assistance

11 January 2024
boy writing on paper
Country news

One of the recent initiatives in Serbia has been the establishment of the National Association of Pedagogical Assistants, providing additional support to Roma students. Pedagogical assistants have been recongised in Serbian legislation for several years and play a vital role in supporting children and students with additional educational needs, including those facing learning difficulties and cultural or language barriers, such as Roma students. Their responsibilities for Roma students encompass various domains, including aiding in enrolment procedures, facilitating transportation, and ensuring access to textbooks, teaching aids, and necessary equipment for active participation in learning. Moreover, they are dedicated to breaking down barriers associated with ethnic, cultural, and linguistic identities. 

 

The diverse support provided by pedagogical assistants for Roma students includes overcoming stereotypes, promoting socialisation and inclusion, and nurturing a positive attitude towards education. Furthermore, they actively contribute to developing students' motivation for learning, language proficiency, engagement in extracurricular activities, and overall skill enhancement for successful academic progress. 

 

The qualification criteria for pedagogical assistants for Roma students comprises a four-year secondary education, proficiency in the Romani language, and the successful completion of a comprehensive training program. This program, comprising four modules totalling 52 hours, equips assistants with the necessary skills to collaborate with teachers, professional associates, parents, local government units, and relevant institutions. Upon completing the training, pedagogical assistants for Roma students are expected to be prepared to work with families to encourage active participation in the educational process, both within and outside the learning environment. The hiring of pedagogical assistants is contingent upon the presence of at least 20 students requiring additional educational support, with the full norm involving working with 35 students. Currently, a total of 271 teaching assistants are employed in the education system in Serbia. The establishment of the National Association of these professionals marks an important step in further developing their work and role within the education system.  

 

Source: Eurydice Unit Serbia 

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