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Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia and Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure prof. dr Zorana Mihajlović: Serbia with Fully Integrated Roma
Introduction at the Seminar on the Social Inclusion of the Roma in the Republic of Serbia, 11 June 2015

The new Strategy of the Government of Serbia for improving the Status of Roma and their full integration in society will contain harmonized action plans for the rule of law linked to chapter 23 of the European Commission. The full inclusion of the Roma in the social, economic and cultural-political life is achievable, because now all activities on the improvement of the status of the Roma community will be coordinated from one place.

I am authorized to coordinate, on behalf of the Government, the work of national bodies, local governments and public enterprises relating to improving the status of the Roma. The goal is to harmonize the measures of all state bodies in the field of education, labour, healthcare, housing to produce the expected results in improving the lives of the Roma.

Therefore, I would like to express my gratitude to the European Commission for organizing, jointly with the Government of Serbia, the Seminar on the Social Inclusion of the Roma in the Republic of Serbia. Gratitude also goes to all those present on the great interest and contribution to holding the seminar: the Parliament of Serbia, government and local government institutions, national and international civil society organizations, Roma representatives, international development organizations and institutions, embassies.

The goal of the seminar is to present the progress and what has been done during the previous two years in the process of social inclusion of the Roma. Additionally, the goal of the seminar is also to analyse current challenges and jointly define specific tasks for the coming period and turn them into Operational Conclusions of the Seminar, with their further implementation monitored.

There are around 148,000 Roma living in Serbia (2011 Census). The Roma are one of the most vulnerable social groups in Serbia. Our goal is to improve the status of Roma through joint efforts of the entire society, in order to decrease the inequality existing between the Roma and the rest of the population. This event is being organized at a time when social inclusion of the Roma is an issue of importance both for EU member states, as well as all candidate states, including Serbia, thus ensuring continued cooperation and EU support for improving the status of the Roma. As a state, we are obliged to improve the socio-economic status of the Roma in Serbia and enable their full integration in society.

Today I am primarily satisfied that we can speak of clear results and progress achieved during the past period in Serbia. We have a better institutional framework: the Council for Improving the Status of Roma, there is the active role of government services such as the Office for Human and Minority Rights and the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit, while the National Council of the Roma National Minority has been established and is functional.

Regarding the strategic framework, the process of drafting the new Strategy for Improving the Status of Roma has been initiated, to be completed by the end of September 2015. The initial study for drafting the study has been completed, the intersectoral government group is formed, including civil society representatives, and the Expert Working Group is working with increasing intensity to prepare the draft of the key areas for the new strategy.

We have made great progress in regards to access to personal documents and subsequent entry into the birth registers.

In regards to adult education, there are considerable improvements: the Rulebook on Recognizing All Types of Discrimination in Education is ready and will soon be adopted, the Working Group for Preparing the Rulebook on Affirmative Measures for the Inclusion of Roma in Secondary Schools is formed (to be adopted by the end of the year), and the Working Group for the Improvement of Education of National Minorities has been formed, while the criteria for scholarships for Roma students in secondary schools have been clearly set. The work of pedagogical assistants contributing to the social inclusion of Roma students in education is also important.

There are considerable improvements in the field of housing, as well: the working group for the adoption of the relevant regulation to regulate the process of displacement/eviction in accordance with international standards has been formed and we have started the process of discussion to solve the issue of substandard settlements.

In the field of healthcare, the results of the work of healthcare mediators made great improvements to the healthcare of Roma. In regards to employment, the National Employment Service noted an increase in the employment of Roma, while EU and other donor project funds support programmes for the stimulation of employment and self-employment of Roma.

Regarding freedom of movement, measures for the prevention of the abuse of the visa regime are constantly being implemented.

Although a lot has been done and progress is notable, the Roma still represent the most impoverished group of the population in our country, and we are still facing numerous challenges. During the coming period we are faced with further work on improving the operation of institutions working on the social inclusion of Roma and their close mutual coordination and connection of all key stakeholders working on these issues, as well as the functioning of developed mechanisms at the local level.

I also have to note that the implementation of measures to improve the status of the Roma requires a complex and comprehensive social response with the full participation of civil society organizations. Civil society organizations and local self-governments are an important ally and partner and without them implementation would be impossible.

The political goal of our country is the accession of Serbia to the European Union. This means that all our citizens must meet the standard of living worthy of citizens of the EU. That is why we are all here together today. Serbia will become a country with Roma fully integrated in society. Thank you for your cooperation and support.




Seminar on Social Inclusion of Roma in the Republic of Serbia

The Seminar on the Social Inclusion of Roma in the Republic of Serbia was held on Thursday, 11 June 2015, at the Deputy’s Club in Belgrade, organized jointly by the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the European Commission.

The Seminar was co-chaired by Marta Garcia Fidalgo – advisor for the coordination of Roma issues, the Directorate General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, the European Commission and representatives of the Government of the Republic of Serbia.

The Seminar, attended by representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, the Government of the Republic of Serbia, the National Council of the Roma National Minority, independent bodies, civil society organizations and international organizations, dealt with the key achievements of the improvement of the status of Roma, as well as the priorities and challenges for improving the social inclusion of Roma.

New Edition of Guide to Potential Domestic and Foreign Sources of Financing

A new edition of the Guide to Potential Domestic and Foreign Sources of Financing for 2015 was published, prepared by the Civic Initiatives organization, together with the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit, the European Integration Office and Office for Cooperation with Civil Society.

The Guide contributes to better informing all partners and provides insight into the funds for the implementation of diverse programme and project activities available to civil society organizations, municipalities, small and medium enterprises, entrepreneurs and individuals.

We hope this edition of the Guide to Potential Domestic and Foreign Sources of Financing will fulfil its purpose and be an additional stimulus for the inclusion of all those able to contribute to the greater social inclusion in Serbia and improving the quality of life for all its citizens.

Click here to download the latest Guide to Potential Domestic and Foreign Sources of Financing.

Adopted Conclusions and Follow Up of the Workshop “Measuring Poverty – Concepts, Challenges and Recommendations”

The conclusions of the Workshop“Measuring Poverty – Concepts, Challenges and Recommendations”, held on Friday, April 17th, 2015 in Belgrade, have been adopted by the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit with collaboration of the World Bank (WB) and the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia (SORS).

The aim of the workshop was to present recent trends and challenges in measuring poverty worldwide, as well as in the Republic of Serbia, and to provide opportunity for a broader discussion about poverty measurement and data collection among practitioners. The goal of the workshop was to evaluate how the existing data from the Household Budget Survey and the Statistics on Income and Living Conditions survey can be used more efficiently from a policy-maker’s point of view for a more accurate assessment of the impact of current policies on poverty and social inclusion, as well as the effective design of future poverty reduction and social inclusion policies.

Click here for more information on the Workshop.

You can download Conclusions and Follow Up here.

First Street Wardrobe in Belgrade!

The Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and Liceulice, in partnership with Urban Incubator and Red Cross Palilula, hereby invite you to contribute to the first Street Wardrobe and help your neighbours, socially the most vulnerable fellow citizens.

The Street Wardrobe aims to turn the most ordinary of locations, such as sidewalks and fences into a place where the most vulnerable citizens can pick out a piece of clothing their fellow citizens have brought for them to the Street Wardrobe. In addition to its humanitarian character, this programme aims to enable direct communication of citizens who wish to help, and citizens who need help.

The Street Wardrobe is held at the Spanish House (Braće Krsmanović 2) in Belgrade, scheduled for three dates: 13, 20 and 27 June, 1 PM to 4 PM.


European Commission Call for Support to Civil Society and Media Open (Deadline: 6/7/2015)
Contract on Cooperation in Construction of 15 Facilities in Šabac for Forced Migrants Signed
Apartments for 12 Roma Families
IX Call “Flower of Success for Dragon Lady of 2015”: Choosing the Best Women Entrepreneurs!
International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia Commemorated
BOSIFEST 2015 Held – Sixth Belgrade International Film Festival of Persons with Disabilities
DAUS: Open Call for Enrolment of 23rd Generation o Students of “Future Studies” Programme (Deadline: 6/9/2015)
Results of “Theatre against Violence” Project Presented
Competition “Green Ideas” Completed
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Dragana Malidžan Vinkić: Step By Step to an Adapted Final Exam

As the school year end nears, it is important for teachers to get introduced to methods of adapting the conditions for drafting the final exam test (FE) and the contents of the test for students with certain difficulties, or those educated according to an IEP. As far as I had the opportunity to talk to colleagues from other schools, there are many doubts over what can be adjusted and how to adjust the FE. (…)

When working with a student learning according to an IEP, within our subject we are obliged to produce adapted achievement standards. Teachers often ask me how much they need to “lower” their standards. In fact, this is not about “lowering and raising” the standards at all, but about adaptation. We need to start from a known framework, this being the existing standards, most frequently the basic ones, but it depends from student to student. They are used to compare the achievements of the child at the start of every school year, because not all standards correspond to every grade.

It is best to show them in a table, since this gives the clearest view, easiest to change in accordance with the changes of the student. A table should be made with three columns, the first with the existing educational standards (basic level), the second how much and what the student meets, and this will also become the student’s adapted standards, based on what they know at the moment, and the third being what they do not meet and what they could learn in a certain time. In fact, the third column would represent adapted achievements for the end of a given grade/education level. Lectures, tasks, tests, exams, as well as the FE test are prepared based on the standards achieved. Here is an example of adapting the standards for one of my students for the Serbian Language, the area of Written Expression.

The presented table is a good framework in the selection of problems for the test, but also a useful document of the student’s portfolio on the specific knowledge of the student that should be forwarded to the future school. The individual educational plan and standards are the framework for drafting the problems. For those still feeling insecure in drafting the problems, a reliable version is to adapt problems from the existing collections for the final exam in accordance with the IEP.

Here are examples of problems from a test adapted for a student with autism. The test contains problems based on adapted standards and the IEP, but are in accordance with the student’s interests (TV, favourite TV channels, comics, funny stories, history) in order to retain the student’s attention and make the atmosphere more fun and relaxing during the final exam. In addition to the test, there was also the assistant – school psychologists, registered earlier, known to the student and charged with returning him to the problem after a drop in concentration or the need for a walk.

I found the sources for the test online. The test was easy to create once I had a precise record of how much and what the student knows (the table). From the pedagogical profile of the student’s interests (television, entertainment…) and the type of additional support during the final exam (assistant indicating the problems). Based on the worksheets collected, the problems, and notebooks, I had a small collection of problems and types of problems the student can solve.

The teacher does not need to be creative and imaginative to adapt the education to the student. It is important to keep records on the student, collect materials from the fifth grade onward, change when things are not moving ahead, learn from mistakes and ask for the assistance or suggestions of colleagues.

The text in its entirety can be found here. Other texts by our bloggers can be found at:


My Family Did Not Support Me, So I Enrolled in School On My Own

Transcript of the presentation by Tafilj Dubova at the 31st Belgrade Ignite “My Society Loves Differences” (27 April 2015, Mixer House, Belgrade)

Many memories tie me to Kosovo, because that’s where I spent 14 years and completed the IV grade of primary school. I grew up without parents, living with my grandma and grandpa, and I had to grow up fast to earn enough to support the family.

My family did not really support me in going to school and educating myself, so I enrolled in school on my own. When I saw that I felt good in school and had company, I also enrolled my sister and we completed IV grade there. (…)

Due to the conflicts experienced by my family in Kosovo, in 2008 we had to move to Belgrade. Because of family difficulties, I had to be placed in the “Moša Pijade” home for children without parental care. That’s when I enrolled in the “Branko Pešić” school, completing the remaining four grades of primary school in six months.

Upon completing primary school, I wanted to go to Medical School, because I dreamed of it ever since I was a child. But, having completed evening school, I had no choice and had to enrol in the secondary vocational school on Kanarevo brdo, and that school helped me a lot and encouraged me to move further. I was student of the generation at that school.

When I grew a bit stronger and learned the Serbian language, I enrolled extraordinarily in the School of Catering and Tourism, completing III years, and when I realised I wanted to move on to a faculty, I also completed IV grade.

I have been a volunteer since I was 16, also working at the Centre for Interactive Pedagogy, the research team of the project “Support to Young Roma on their Way from Education to Independence and Employment”. I used those earnings to pay for tuition and exams. I would also like to thank (…) for a scholarship of 8,000, that helped me in not working too much while getting an education.

I am still living at the home for children without parental care and studying at the Faculty for Special Education and Rehabilitation.

More success stories can be found at
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Government of the Republic of Serbia
Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit
Vlajkovićeva 10,11070 Beograd, Srbija

Phone +381 11 311 4605, +381 11 311 4798, +381 11 213 7915