The school is not an island. Educational and community resilience in a multi-ethnic environment

Principal investigator: Attila Papp Z.

Participants: Erzsébet Csereklye, Margit FeischmidtErnő Kállai, Katalin Kovács, Eszter Neumann , Szilvia Németh, Ágnes Patakfalvi-Czirják, Zsuzsanna Vidra, Csilla Zsigmond

Grant: NKFIH 120400

Period: 2016 - 2020

Research questions and objectives:

The school is not an “island”: it is deeply embedded in its surrounding social relations and organizational environment. This research project aims to explore the ways in which schools and the communities they serve interact and mutually form each other in multi-ethnic rural micro-regions. The research design’s key theoretical proposition is the adaptation and testing of the concept of institutional and community resilience to the Hungarian context with the aim of developing a deeper understanding of the factors that contribute to the resilience of “trend-bucking” communities and multi-ethnic schools.

The research explores resilience from the following three aspects and inquires their interrelations.

  1. Pedagogic: What makes effective teaching?

What makes elementary schools effective in conveying knowledge, developing competencies, providing differentiated support in ethnically diverse classrooms and enhancing social mobility?

  1. Organizational: What makes resilient schools?

How do schools cope with uncertainty in the public sector, most importantly in the context of radical institutional reorganizations, the retrenchment of institutional autonomy and incalculable austerity measures?

  1. Community: What makes resilient communities?

How do settlements navigate in the context of the retrenchment of the welfare states and what are the resources mobilized in successful coping strategies? How do schools contribute to community and individual resilience in multi-ethnic localities in the context of the restructuring of local labour markets, increasing social inequalities and political radicalization?

Research history:

Analysis of the National Assessment of Basic Competencies databases (Papp 2011, 2013)

Analysis of integrated educational policies (Papp-Németh 2006, Neumann 2013, 2016)

Research methods:

The project follows a mixed-method design in which three different approaches (quantitative data analysis, school case studies and community studies) mutually inform each other. The use of mixed methods potentially shed light on new aspects and interrelations that can theoretically inform the Hungarian sociology of education and minority studies.


Patakfalvi-Czirják Ágnes - Papp Z. Attila - Neumann Eszter: Az iskola nem sziget. Oktatási és társadalmi reziliencia multietnikus környezetben. EDUCATIO 27 : 3 pp. 474-480. (2018)

Papp Z. Attila - Neumann Eszter: The Education of the Roma and Educational Resilience in Hungary. In. Manuela Mendes - Olga Magano – Toma Stefania (eds.) Social and Economic Vulnerability of Roma People. Key Factors for the Success and Continuity of Schooling Level. Springer 2020 (megjelenés alatt forthcoming)