A draft Law on education is in the lower chamber of the Parliament. the Ministry of Education organised consultations with civil society on the draft and then proposed it to the Government for approval. In the process of adopting the new law on education there is a high risk that Roma will not be able to promote several strategic interests: desegregation and inclusive education, financial transparency and accountability, curricula reforms, ensuring equity as regards the quality of education. Some of these interests are beneficial for all citizens, irrespective of their ethnic origin: transparency of financial allocations and financial accountability, promoting inclusive education and inclusive schools, ensuring equity, etc.
There are several social actors that are trying to influence the adoption of the law as regards education for Roma. As there is a competition among these actors on who has higher influence and better connections the general interest of the Roma is disregarded. In fact, it would be normal to get these actors together, to define their interests as regards the law on education, to agree on what should be in the law and what could be negotiated, and to attract support for their positions.
To date there is nothing about segregation in the law, to give just one example why the pressure is high on those that represent the interests of Roma. Some are totally disregarding the issue of equity-discrimination-segregation and its consequences and are opting for a mother tongue education. These groups and individuals did not get that these two position are not excluding each other. On the contrary, the definition of segregation makes a clear distinction between these two possibilities. The discussions among Roma social actors are about who is more expert on education than other.
It seems that those opting for a minority rights approach to education (mother tongue education) are “winning” the competition. Partida Romilor with its Sub-commission on Roma in the Parliament are strongly supporting such a position. By taking this position they are avoiding a clash with the Hungarian Alliance (UDMR) who is against segregation discourse of Roma. UDMR never expressed o clear position on education for Roma, their way of thinking is that whatever is good for them is good for al national minorities.
The other Roma social actors, are hopping that each of them will be able to influence the decisions based on their expertise, reputation, connections with political forces or protest actions. To date they were unsuccessful to influence the bill even though they know the legislative process and participated in the public consultations initiated by the Ministry of Education. They are supporting inclusive education, desegregation and in general they have a human rights approach to education for Roma. Of course, the positions of different Roma actors are simplified in this posting, practically there are nuances among them.
Each Roma social actor prefers to play alone (I remember Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam) and to loose everything instead of getting together with others. It seems that personal rivalries and egos are more important than the interest of the Roma. None will be surprised if all of them will lose on a long term, eventhough the once supporting a minority rights approach might be the ones to claim a win. The winner will be determined by the negotiations among political forces and Roma will stay out of the decision table.
As it is the situation now it is a zero sum game. It is up to Roma to make it a positive sum game. I doubt that this will happen.