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  • 11

    Widening Access of Roma in Global Knowledge Economy: Case of Serbia

    Advanced seminar arranged by the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University.

    Speaker: Tanja Jovanovic, CEU-Harvard University.

    Discussant: Christina Rodell Olgac, Södertörn University. 

    Chair: Kimmo Granqvist, Södertörn University.

    Social exclusion, economic marginalisation and poor educational opportunities experienced by the Roma minority in Serbia suggest a further level of exclusion from the ‘global knowledge economy’ (Morley 2013). According to Roberts, the shift towards knowledge is a key economic resource; however, ‘there are some regions of the world that are so poor that their ability to participate in a global knowledge economy is very limited’ (2009). Furthermore, the efforts of those suffering economic exclusion to interact with the ‘global knowledge economy’ are often frustrated by ‘the strategies of knowledge accumulation pursued by corporations in the advanced world’ (Roberts 2009: 299). in the light of this, there is an overwhelming case for the educational inclusion on terms of full equality of opportunity for Serbian’s Roma minority. Utilising findings from life history interviews with Roma students in Serbia, this presentation explores how the socio-cultural practices of these students influence their access to higher education. It highlights the importance of widening participation of Roma in higher education as an integral element in improving Roma people’s welfare and enables social mobility (Morley et al 2010). Thus, even the financially driven perspective of the World Bank suggests the importance of widening participation, the key policy objective in neoliberal society, of Roma students in Serbian education, for the benefit of Serbia’s and the EU’s economic development, social justice and stability.

    Tanja Jovanovic is Post-Doctoral Fellow at CEU-Harvard University working on co-authored chapter ‘God has created the school for the gadje (non-Roma) and writing the book based on her PhD thesis ‘Roma Accessing Higher Education in Serbia: Challenges and Aspirations’. Last co-authored published article was 2017 in the Journal Gender and Education on the topic ‘Roma women’s higher education participation: whose responsibility?’. Tanja holds a PhD in Education from University of Sussex, UK; MA in International Education and Development at University of Sussex, UK. Currently Tanja is Policy Officer in Justice Initiative of the Open Society Foundation office in London. Her work focuses on overcoming barriers of Roma in education in regards to institutional racism, social exclusion and equity in accessing the mainstream school without segregation, bullying/discrimination and low quality of education in Czech Republic, Spain and Serbia. Prior to joining OSF, Tanja was working in academia as Graduate Teaching Research Associate as part of Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER) at University of Sussex, UK. She was part of the core team and initiator of the research project about Internationalisation and Mobility of Roma in Higher Education within the Europe at University of Sussex. Before that, since 2003 she worked intensively within Roma community as part of civil sector and Roma activism as well as Roma civil journalism. Her focus was on Central Eastern European countries. Tanja’s area of interest is how inclusive education, equity and social inclusion play the key role in reducing the poverty in overcoming the socio-cultural-economic obstacles in developing settings such as Roma community or any other community with profound poverty.

    Time and place

    When: 11/03/19 at 13:00-14:30

    What: Higher seminar

    Where: Room MA 796, CBEES, Södertörn University

    Organiser: The Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University

    Event language: English