Thursday, 28 Aug 2014
Learning assistance and parental training
Since 1995, Romano Centro has been offering learning assistance to Roma pupils in Vienna. Prime target group for learning assistance are Roma pupils in compulsory education, attending primary and secondary schools, special education centres, grammar schools (lower forms) and cooperative secondary schools. Learning assistance takes place in children’s homes so that their specific learning needs can be individually catered for.

Beyond that, time and place of tutoring are flexible. Learning assistance is more than just “coaching” where children’s underperformance in certain areas is to be compensated for. This happens as a matter of course, but in addition emphasis is placed on developing – together with the children (and their parents) – individual learning attitudes and strategies in order to create (or improve) the basic conditions for success at school. Apart from knowledge-related contents, the study and practice of essential and supporting skills for success at school – such as reliability, self-motivation and personal organisation are also major issues. The project’s starting point was the observation that numerous Roma children in Vienna grow up in so-called “educationally disadvantaged” families unable to provide them with sufficient support when encountering problems at school. Our educational system offers such children not enough opportunities to compensate for these disadvantages.
Usually students (mostly of ethnology and education), the learning assistants are supervised by a trained pedagogue and are offered specially organised further education courses at Romano Centro. In 2011/2012, 25 learning assistants coached 132 Roma children in almost all districts of Vienna as well as some neighbouring municipalities in Lower Austria.
Unfortunately, for financial reasons, it is currently impossible to provide learning assistance of more than one hour per week per child; attempts are being made, however, to offer – at least for a limited period of time – a second hour, for which there is urgent need in certain cases.
Until autumn 2008, learning assistance was free for pupils or rather their parents; since then, parents – unless socially disadvantaged – have been requested to pay a contribution of € 3 per hour.
In 1996, Romano Centro was awarded the integration prize of the Vienna Integration Fund and the daily DER STANDARD for this project, “the best integration project in everyday social interaction”.
For any questions concerning learning assistance please contact Mag. Ferdinand Koller.