Education of Roma is a good investment

Brussels, 11.11.2009. - The Swedish Presidency and the World Bank organized a donor conference for the Roma Education Fund. Lívia Járóka MEP held a speech in the opening panel for key stakeholders and called the quality education of Roma an economic necessity and urged the review of educational projects.

In the joint organization of the Swedish residency of the European Council, the World Bank and the Open Society Institute, a donor conference was held in Brussels in favour of the Roma Education Fund. In the high level opening panel of the two-day event Lívia Járóka (Hungarian Civic Union) emphasized, that the high quality education of Roma students is a gainful investment, which benefits more people than the children it directly targets and these benefits include increased individual and social productivity, reduced levels of poverty, as well as the elimination of discriminatory attitudes and social exclusion. “The better educated Roma are, the better chances they have in the labour market and instead of remaining beneficiaries of public aid, they produce net profit for the national budget by their income taxes” – said Járóka.
“Individual projects must be examined and reviewed, the ‘hurray optimistic’ reports of governments should not be accepted without criticism and only those projects must be scaled up, that prove to be truly good practices”- said Járóka and she added that for this purpose, extending the scope and stiffening the rules of monitoring tenders is indispensable. In her speech, the MEP touched upon the participation of Roma in higher education as well and emphasized: “It is necessary already in secondary school to introduce incentive measures – such as scholarships and mentoring – that urge Roma students to graduate and enrol for higher education and also to launch additional trainings for Roma university students concerning new techniques and trends in their own fields of expertise”.
In her speech Járóka appreciated the leading role of the European Parliament in shaping EU-level policies for Roma integration then reminded, that the latest resolution of the EP had called upon the European Commission to develop and implement a European Roma Strategy and as rapporteur on the inclusion of Roma within the EP’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee she is expecting the stakeholder’s support in pushing the EP, the Commission and the Council to keep up their pledges. In the high level opening panel of the donor conference, George Soros, Chairman of the Open Society Institute, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director of World Bank, and James Wolfensohn, former President of the World Bank Group also held a speech.