• Poland

Contact organisation: 

Center for Education Development

Al. Ujazdowskie 28

00-478 Warszawa


Ms Katarzyna Stepniak

Ms Monika Dobrowolska


Ministry of Interior and Administration

Department  of Denominations and National and Ethnic Minorities

ul. Syreny 23

01-150 Warszawa

Ms Agnieszka Gajewska


Jagiellonian University

Mr Krystian Barzykowski, PhD


  • desegregation
  • Equal opportunities
  • Inclusion
  • schooling

Duration (start/end): 


In progress: 



  • national


All over the Europe the problem of overrepresentation of the Roma pupils in special schools system is present. The reasons of this improper phenomenon are complex: starting with the low education level of the general Roma population, through gettoisation and spatial isolation of many Roma communities, ending with some prejudices towards Roma, discrimination and with lack of use of tailored educational tools enabled the Roma community achieving the educational successes.


One of the possible methods to resolve the above mentioned problem of Roma overrepresentation in special school is sensitizing the pedagogical and educational personnel to special challenges and needs of Roma community and delivering to the psychologists adequate tools.

First stage of the action was to conduct a scientific research (Jagiellonian University, Cracow) concerning the Roma pupils in special schools. The results were published in a final report  concerning the cognitive  and linguistic functioning of Roma children in special and massive school, followed by the publication on the several aspects of the psychological testing and diagnosis of pupils with the multicultural and multilingual background, with a focus on Roma children.

The results and proposed solutions were presented to all Polish authorities dealing with the process of diagnosis and testing of children across the country, accompanied by the series of meetings with presentation concerning Roma culture, needs and problems specificity.

The most efficient factor in this activity was engaging all indispensable entities: Ministry of Education and its subordinated Center for Educational Development (center for teachers), Ministry of Interior and Administration, responsible for the national and ethnic minorities issues, academic environment, Roma NGO and Roma school assistants (mediators).

One of the important and systemic results was educational law’s changes, which give possibility for formal including of Roma school mediators to be a part of diagnosis system, due to lack of education among majority of Roma parents. Roma assistants also play (should play) a role in encouraging the Roma parents to place their children in massive school system  - as the parents are the only authorized persons acting to decide which school  (mass or special) their children with mild mental disability should attend.

Language of the supporting documents: 


Langues des documents annexes: 

  • Polish

Liste des documents annexes: 


  • Civil society, including Roma community
  • governmental
  • local or regional
  • other

Method used: 

Scientific research, analysing data, reporting,  recommendations, publication, dissemination of results and proposed tools and activities, education law changes

Technical resources: 


Human resources: 



Activity was financed from different sources: partly by private donation (Fundacja im. S. Batorego, scientific part), partly by governmental entities: Ministry of Education (publication) , partly by Ministry of Interior and Administration and local authorities: local pedagogical and psychological centers (workshops, conferences).

Expected results (goals and indicators): 

Diminishing of the percentage of Roma pupils attending the special schools to the level of general population share (approx. 3 %).

What are the keys to success of this action? : 

  • proper recognizing the scale of problem
  • will to collect and analysis all available data
  • stable and sustainable actions made by all relevant stakeholders, including the Roma community

What were the main difficulties encountered?: 

  • general law system – in that case offering additional financial support to families with mentally disabled children that can be an economic incentive for poor families without stable income

What would you recommend to those carrying out a similar action?: 

Keep it and develop!

Diffusion resources: 

  • Publication or report
  • Website