The first sitting of the Subcommittee for Roma Affairs, held on 5 November 2021, was dedicated to the World Day of Romani Language.
In his welcome address, Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development Branko Ruzic said that, in its work and strategic planning, the Ministry he heads pays special attention to the education of children from vulnerable groups, which the Roma national minority happens to be one of. The affirmative measures for the enrolment of Roma children in preschool and school institutions have yielded results and today there are more children covered by the education system, he said especially emphasising the importance of educating Roma girls. He went on to underline the important role of pedagogical assistants. Finally, Ruzic concluded his address saying that Roma means man and this should be a guide for the improvement of the status of Roma in the education system and social system at large, something that be achieved through joint efforts and coordinated action.
Minister of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue Gordana Comic emphasised the importance of language for the identity of a nation. She spoke of the depth of the prejudice against Roma rooted in racism, pointing out how important it is for Serbia to support the celebration of the World Day of Romani Language. Comic underlined that all Roma children need to be included in education.
Special Adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and Information in charge of national minorities Alma Rizvanovic spoke of the importance of preserving the cultural identity and protecting the linguistic heritage of every nation, pointing out that the Ministry tends to it, not only because our country is bound by European conventions but out of the need to nurture the spirit of community.
MP Sandra Jokovic spoke of the efforts to integrate the Roma national minority into society through the education system, noting that the affirmative action has yielded results. An increasing number of Roma children are finishing primary and secondary schools and there are more and more high-school and university graduates.
The Director of the Roma Education Fund (REF) Redjepali Chupi, President of the National Council of the Roma National Minority Dalibor Nakic and member of the Commission of the Republic of Serbia for cooperation with UNESCO Uros Pribicevic also addressed the attending, outlining the efforts and achievements in terms of preserving the Romani language and the significance of marking the World Day of Romani Language.
In his address, the Chairman of the Subcommittee for Roma Issues Prof. Dr Dragoljub Ackovic spoke of the course of events and initiative that led to UNESCO accepting the proposal that 5 November be declared World Day of Romani Language. He stressed that the Romani language has a rich cultural heritage, expressing satisfaction that this year the day is being marked in the National Assembly.
In the course of the sitting, Ljuan Koka spoke about the normalisation, standardisation and codification of the Romani language, Zlatomir Jovanovic spoke about publishing in the Romani language, while academician Bajram Haliti spoke about the dictionaries of the Romani language in Serbia. Branko Djuric spoke about the Romani language in the electronic media, while Dr Marija Aleksandrovic spoke about the introduction of the subject Romani language and culture in primary schools.
An exhibition entitled "Dictionaries and Grammars of the Romani Language" was set up to mark the occasion.
The sitting was chaired by Subcommittee Chairman Prof. Dr Dragoljub Ackovic and attended by Subcommittee member Sandra Jokovic and MP Prof. Dr Marko Atlagic.