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Promoting Social Justice and Enhancing Educational Success: Suggestions from Twenty Educationally Successful Roma in Greece


In Greece, Roma pupils often experience segregation through educational settings, high dropout rates, low performance outcomes, and higher levels of non-completion when compared to their Greek (non-Roma) peers. However, a small minority do stay in school and proceed to higher education. This paper draws on a set of in-depth interviews with twenty Greek Roma who entered higher education ‘despite the odds’ and examines what these participants advocate, in order to support the educational progression of the Roma in Greece. The participants outline a series of interventions that they believe can challenge some of the economic, cultural, and associational injustices experienced by the Roma. They call for a need to improve educational provision for the Roma in Greece, in order to enhance their educational success.

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  1. 1.

    The all-day school addresses all the students attending Greek schools. The Document of the Ministry of Education regarding the all-day schools for the school year 2014–2015 (Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs (2014)), titled ‘Λειτουργία των Ολοήμερων Δημοτικών Σχολείων για το σχολικό έτος 2014–2015(Αρ.Πρωτ.Φ.50/226/143572/Γ1/10-09-2014/ΥΠΑΙΘ’ [Operation of the all-day primary schools for the school year 2014–2015 (No. Φ.50/226/143572/Γ1/10-09-2014/ΥΠΑΙΘ] includes the following in the all-day school aims: the disruption of social inequalities and offering practical support for students (especially those coming from underprivileged backgrounds). Moreover, according to the same document, the all-day school aims at providing tutorials/additional teaching time, improving educational results, and fighting against school failure and dropouts. The timetable includes the time for the students’ homework.

  2. 2.

    There are special categories of students who enter higher education through distinct routes, such as participation in different exams (e.g., by Greek expatriates), being offered lower limit grades/special places (e.g., students belonging to the Muslim minority of Thrace), or having the Panhellenic Exams grade requirements waived (e.g., students who have achieved distinction in academic competitions and athletes who have achieved distinction in athletic competitions). Moreover, adults who have completed high school can apply to enter the Hellenic Open University.


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This work is based on my doctoral study which was supported by the Greek State Scholarships Foundation/IKY under the Grant ‘Scholarships programme SSF (State Scholarships Foundation) with an individualised assessment process of the academic year 2011–2012’ from resources of the Operational Programme ‘Education and Lifelong Learning’, of the European Social Fund (ESF), the NSRF 2007–2013.

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Correspondence to Panagiota Gkofa.

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Gkofa, P. Promoting Social Justice and Enhancing Educational Success: Suggestions from Twenty Educationally Successful Roma in Greece. Urban Rev 49, 443–462 (2017).

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  • Roma
  • Educational success
  • Policy suggestions