Understanding the Impact of the First Wave of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the Access to Education of Roma Communities in Ukraine Using Ogbu’s Cultural-Ecological Theory
Keywords:Roma in Ukraine, education of Roma, COVID-19, Ogbu, cultural-ecological theory, Foster
The global COVID-19 pandemic highlighted and in some cases exacerbated the already precarious education of Roma children in Ukraine. This study aims to understand how the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the education of Roma children by taking a wider look at structural issues affecting the Roma community. Using mixed methods in the form of interviews with stakeholders and a survey, this paper will engage in the larger structure-agency debate through the lens of Ogbu’s cultural-ecological theory, Foster’s enhancements of it, and Crenshaw’s idea of intersectionality. The results show that between March 2020 and June 2020 the most vulnerable people in society were the ones most negatively impacted by the lockdowns and secondary effects of the pandemic. Underlying structural issues, underfunded and segregated schools with non-inclusive curriculums, intergenerational inequality, the digital divide, language barriers, intersectionality, and the pandemic’s negative impacts on Roma parents are some of the causes that Roma families reported as barriers which keep Roma children from being able to access education. However, with the agency Roma individuals have, they chose how to respond to structural oppression. This paper also demonstrates the harmful impacts of stereotypes that deem a culture to be innately resistant to education. Throughout this paper, there is a nuanced discussion which engages with previous research and theories and applies them to the new data, in order to provide a general understanding of topics that have not been heavily researched.
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