There are stereotypes that the Roma population does not study enough. Our mission is exactly that, to break these stereotypes, says Alvin Salimovski, director of the school "Brothers Ramiz - Hamid" where 90 percent of the students are Roma.
With more than 2,000 students, almost 80 classes and 121 teachers, in grade and subject teaching, the school "Brothers Ramiz - Hamid" from the Skopje municipality Shuto Orizari is one of the largest elementary schools in the country.
"The mission of this school, first and foremost, is quality education," says Alvin Salimovski, director of "Brothers Ramiz - Hamid".
Salimovski says that the main goal is to make it easier for the students to follow the lessons.
"Many reconstructions have been done in this school, with one goal - to make the students feel the school as their home."
However, even this school is not immune to the trend of emigration that applies to the entire country and which leads to a decrease in the number of students.
"There are many families who have gone abroad, stay in a foreign country for a few months, then return to our school again. So other families go. But yes, lately the number of students has decreased precisely because of going abroad."
One of the challenges the school faces is that some of the parents do not enroll their first-graders in the scheduled May enrollment period.
"And they come in August, in September." That number is changing. However, the number of first-graders this year, and three years ago, ranges from 250 to 300 first-graders". However, there are also students who stop attending classes. The most common reasons for this are the lack of permanent residences, as well as family departures for seasonal work across the country or abroad. To overcome that problem, the school is sending teachers to talk to the parents, as a first step in getting those children back in school.
"The teachers go, visit the home, have a conversation with the parents, if they are here. If we manage to return them to education, then we have succeeded. If not, then in that case we also send the educational mediators."
In the government strategy for the inclusion of the Roma 2022-2030, it is indicated that a lower degree of success is observed among some students. The head of "Ramiz Hamid Brothers" indicates that the financial situation of the families plays a big role in this. "If the parents are unemployed, they don't have the opportunity to provide their children with everything they need for school, this is where a problem arises. In our school, we also have students who come from very poor families."
Alimovski believes that one of the solutions for this situation is to provide students with appropriate conditions.
"We as teachers cannot change the student's home, but we can change the classroom."
According to the Roma Inclusion Strategy, there is no accurate data on the number of Roma children in the country who are outside the educational process. From "Ramiz Hamid Brothers" they consider that this number is small for them, but they send the main message to the parents.
"We try to inform and show parents that education is one of the most important links in life."