• Expectations Vis-A-Vis Exclusion: Young educated Roma and labour markets in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Since the launch of the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005–2015 (hereafter: Roma Decade), all around Central and Southeastern Europe, governments have initiated strategies and measures aiming at the improvement of the Roma situation in four key thematic areas: education, employment, health care and housing. The situation of many Roma, however, remains precarious, with entire segments of Roma population remaining poor, uneducated, unemployed and ghettoised. As monitoring and evaluations are largely lacking, especially when it comes to governmental projects, there are no clear indications of success in the implementation of employment-related measures. Successes appear to be few, and by far overshadowed by large numbers of Roma in need of (formal) employment. Governmental measures affect low numbers of Roma, and significantly fail to address the needs of certain subgroups within the Roma population, such as highly educated young Roma.

    This shortcoming is particularly emphasized in the broader context of improving education levels among young Roma generations. Numerous education projects and scholarship programmes have increased the numbers of young Roma in high schools and universities. At this moment, there are already generations of fresh Romani graduates, with their numbers increasing by the year, whose tertiary ducation has been strongly affected by affirmative action measures. The problem, however, is the lack of opportunities awaiting these young Roma. In shrinking labour markets, there is already a scarcity of jobs. Roma, in addition, are faced by potential racial discrimination by employers. Furthermore, for those young graduates who manage to find their place on the labour market, their positions are in many cases relating thematically to Roma issues, and the instances of young educated Roma employed in professional positions that are unconnected to the Roma sphere is not common.

    For these reasons, this research paper addresses the position of young educated Roma in the labour markets of two neighbouring countries: Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The paper analyses relevant public policies in both countries, juxtaposes them to the expectations and actual experiences of young educated Roma in search of employment, and ends with a set of proposals on how the current situation could be improved.

    This paper is a result of a research project developed within the Vienna-based ERSTE Foundation’s Fellowship for Social Research, and hosted by the Ecumenical Humanitarian Organization (EHO), a non-governmental organization based in Novi Sad, Serbia. The author would like to express her gratitude to both organizations for allowing her to conduct research on this topic. The author would also like to thank all young Romani students and professionals from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as representatives of institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), who kindly agreed to be interviewed and shared their views and experiences. Their cooperation and support is very much appreciated.

    This paper can be accessed on demand, please contact the fellow directly.

  • The Effectiveness of Workplace-based Training in Hungary. Why does apprentice training help?

    Although apprenticeship training has been praised for its effectiveness in smoothing the school-to-work transition of non-college bound students in dual education systems, there is a lack of evidence for Central and Eastern Europe and the mechanism behind this effect is also unclear. Using a unique individual-level panel database, which includes an extensive set of controls, the study shows that Hungarian students of the non-college bound vocational training track with workplace-based training, have about 10-15% higher probability of initial employment, compared to similar graduates from the same track, who were trained in school. This effect seems to be stable across industries, and robust to specification checks. Tests using alternative outcomes – such as net earning, or length of employment contract – suggest that this positive effect is due to the screening of apprentices and not to their increased specific skills.

  • Exploring VET policy and its influence on unemployment rate in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republic of Croatia

    After the 2008 crisis the focus of the European Union education policy on the Vocational education and training measures erupted. It is understood that the structural changes associated with transition have been unfavourable for unskilled workers who have lost employment disproportionately as the skill content of blue collar work has increased due to skill-biased technological change (Commander and Kollo, 2004). In the light of these developments, this paper explores the VET systems of two countries: Republic of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    The paper examine institutional framework for vocational education at the national level and on local level and points at the deficits of the VET systems at place and their historical heritage in the Ex Yugoslav educational system. The paper will explore how countries address drop out rate problems, organise selection and mobility into the vocational schools and provide practical training and apprenticeships and their connection to employability. Finally, the paper provides recommendations for each of stakeholder groups for improvement of the VET system and its role in improvement of connection between VET education and labour market in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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