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- Resistire Project -



Project: RESISTIRÉ – RESpondIng to outbreakS through co-creaTIve inclusive equality stRatEgies (This project has received funding from EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 101015990).

Pilot project: “Engaging parents of vulnerable youth: The case of Roma in Hungary’s education system” implemented by Romedia Foundation. 

Project duration: September 2022 – April 2023


The project is not only aimed at understanding forms of communication between schools and Roma parents, but also wishes to promote collaborative relationship between teachers and parents, supporting the possibility of parental participation. The pilot project is aimed at 1) gathering the most up-to-date information about the challenges, best practices, and regional particularities related to Hungarian schools’ engagements with Roma parents; 2) identifying existing strategies and forms of engagement between Roma parents and schools; 3) preparing a Toolbox with best practices (“better stories”) and resources for schools to efficiently engage with hard-to-reach parents.


Methodology: The project consists of desk research and fieldwork in several schools throughout Hungary.


Toolbox: The content of the Toolbox was developed in a collaborative manner: through series of workshops and meetings with teachers and parents, the Toolbox was co-designed and tested to assure its practicality.


Researchers involved in the project

The Romedia Foundation Team has actively supported and helped the realization of the project.

Dr Jekatyerina Dunajeva


Dr Jekatyerina Dunajeva received her PhD at the University of Oregon in the USA. In her dissertation, she examined educational and minority policies in Hungary and Russia. Currently, she is a research fellow at the Centre for Social Sciences and assistant professor at Paymany Peter Catholic University’s Department of Political Science in Budapest. Dr Dunajeva’s research has been published in several book chapters and peer-reviewed journals. Her most recent book was published in 2021 by CEU Press, entitled Constructing Identities over Time. Her fields of research are minority politics, especially the situation of Roma, political and ethnic identity, youth politics, state and nation building. In addition to teaching and researching, Dr Dunajeva collaborates with international research groups, and works as a consultant and political analyst.

Camellia Bojtor


Camellia Bojtor is a British-Hungarian national currently living in Budapest, Hungary. With a background in PR and Communications, Camellia is an expert in corporate communications and is a specialist in the Middle East, having worked in the region for close to a decade. Camellia returned to Europe to pursue her interest in Romani studies by attending Central European University’s master’s degree course in Nationalism. She has since engaged in several Roma-related projects, including supporting environmental racism and education-related projects as a research assistant and acting as an assistant campaign manager for the NGO Proud Roma Free Europe. In parallel with these projects, Camellia continues to work in communications as a freelancer, supporting various sectors and clients, including healthcare, energy, and tech.

Péter Jánosi


Péter Jánosi obtained his BA degree in social work at ELTE in 2016, and since 2014 has been working in the non-profit sector at various foundations. In addition to his social work degree, he completed ELTE’s MA degree in Cultural Anthropology. Throughout his studies, he took part in several research programmes in Hungary and in India. His area of research was traditional societies and community development programmes. At his current workplace SZÉRA - Social and Rehabilitation Foundation, he carries out many different roles. His main task is working with marginalized families in deep poverty and empower them to live independently; in addition, he is regularly participating in the coordination of fundraising campaigns, planning and managing of the foundation’s volunteer programme and online communication.

Watch the following short video to learn more about the project and the importance of teacher-parent cooperation

Q & A




These collaborative models work in contrast to more traditional, didactic models of education, referred to as a banking model of education in which the teacher is an authority figure and primary source of knowledge (Freire, 1970). The name ‘banker’ model is based on the idea of a teacher as bank clerk depositing information in their students; the onus of this learning method is on students to sit and listen, learning in a traditional lecture style based on memorization. Sometimes also referred to as a ‘frontal model’, such learning formats can often lead to unequal conditions for students, who do not learn in the same manner or at the same pace.


Parental involvement in children’s education is a key determiner of educational success for all children (Jeynes 2007). Studies have suggested that to close the gap in achievement between minority and majority students, it is vital to address the relations between families (communities) and schools. These constitute “overlapping spheres of influence,” and all three are vital to the learning and development of students (Epstein 2018). Research convincingly shows that students perform better at school when they feel supported both at home and at school, being less disruptive, achieving higher grades and are more likely to pursue further education (Henderson and Mapp 2002). Further research suggests that schools and families play important but diverging roles in students’ education, with families encouraging academic aspiration and teachers providing vital support for students’ academic achievement (Syed, Azmitia, and Cooper 2011).


Studies demonstrate that when parents actively participate in their children’s education on both the school and home front, supported by teachers with whom they enjoy respectful and close relations, children demonstrate increased levels of educational aspirations, positive social behaviors, and academic achievement across all grade levels, (Fan 2001; Hill et. al. 2004; Hughes and Kwok 2007; Voorhis et al. 2013; Gutman and McLoyd 2000; Jeynes 2007). Evidence suggests that higher levels of parental engagement in elementary school years is associated with increased chances of completing high school (Barnard, 2004). In addition, higher levels of family involvement in schools positively effects children’s well-being, attitudes toward education and feelings of self-efficacy (Dearing et al. 2004). Research also demonstrates that parental engagement in children’s learning is especially critical for underachieving children (e.g., Henderson and Mapp 2002).


While research shows that children from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds would benefit from improved relations between parents and teachers, parents of ethnic minority and low-income children are less likely to experience the same degree of positive parent–teacher relationships as their counterparts (Hughes and Kwok 2007). This is not for a lack of interest in their children’s education. Research demonstrates that both minority and low-income families share high levels of aspirations for their children’s academic success (Boethel 2003). This is perhaps despite common stereotypical assumptions that the achievement gap among minority students is due to low aspirations or expectations among parents (Chrispeels and Rivero 2001). Studies also show minority parents are engaged in their children’s education but in different ways to dominant majorities, with a tendency to engage more in their children’s education outside of the school environment and more so in the home and wider community (Boethel 2003; Henderson and Mapp 2002; McGrath & Kuriloff, 1999).






Strategies for collaborative school environment

There are several factors and conditions that may be conducive to creating a favorable environment for parent-teacher engagement. In this section, barriers in part identified by Martha Boethel are discussed that hamper minority and low-income family involvement in their children’s schooling. For each, strategies and examples are proposed that may help to overcome some of these barriers.

Parental engagement can be categorized in three groups:

(1) conventional school-initiated activities in which the school dominates the relationship and parents conform to school policies;

(2) activities reflecting shared power, in which parents are offered instrumental roles; and

(3) activities in which parents autonomously set their own agendas and invite school staff to work with them (Delgado-Gaitan 1991 quoted in Boethel 2003).


„No matter their race, ethnicity, culture, or income, most families have high aspirations and concerns for their children’s success”


— (Boethel 2003, v)


Case Studies

The importance of Trust

Trust is a core aspect of relations between Roma parents and teachers.

Consequences of Covid

The pandemic profoundly affected relationships within schools.

The role of leadership

Central to parent-teacher cooperation is the school’s leadership.

Non-formal institutions

Non-formal institutions as key players in the educational eco-system.

Social media platforms

For poor families social media is a key tool of communication.

Shame of poverty

One barriers to more parent-teacher engagement is the shame of poverty.

Download Research

The entire content of the Toolbox can be downloaded in one file in English and Hungarian languages.