Sociologie Românească, Vol. IX, no. 4/2011, pp. 123-134.
Exploring School Inclusion Barriers in Cluj-Napoca Vocational Schools
Abstract: The paper presents the results of a qualitative research investigating the barriers in the school inclusion of disadvantaged students (low socio-economic status, Roma ethnicity, migrated parents) from seven vocational schools in ClujNapoca. We conducted four focus groups with 32 disadvantaged vocational school students (aged 15–19) and 82 interviews with 34 vocational school teachers, seven vocational school principals, six vocational school psychologists, five school inspectors from Cluj County School Inspectorate and 30 professionals from eight educational NGOs from Cluj-Napoca. Data have shown that students’ lack of interest in school is not only related to lesson content, but mainly to: (a) the difficulties of establishing a close connection with the teachers, of feeling teachers want to help them, rather than just punish them; (b) the high levels of violence in school and the lack of a firm reaction from adults; (c) the lack of a sense of belonging to their class, due to their low income – which impedes them from participating in more group activities that would allow them to know their classmates and develop a group identity. However, the teachers and school inspectors believe that the inclusion problems of the disadvantaged students are due to their families’ lack of involvement in the educational process, and to the lack of training programmes focused on the specific needs of disadvantaged students. The results helped us understand what are the mechanisms behind (un)successful school inclusion in vocational schools and the educational practices in schools with a high rate of low SES students.
Keywords: disadvantaged students; exclusion; inequality; educational policies.
Cuvinte-cheie: elevi dezavantajaţi; excluziune; inegalitate; politici educaţionale.