Education ministry planning effective action against discrimination of Romanies in the education system
The Czech Education Ministry has unveiled a new series of comprehensive measures aimed at removing widespread discrimination of Romany children in the Czech education system. Although the European Commission has long urged the Czech Republic to address the problem little corrective action has been taken since the matter was first raised in 1998.
Julius Mika is one of the Romany fathers who filed a joint complaint to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasburg and won. His son spent two years at a special school because he had problems catching up after a long illness.
“I know a lot of families with children and they complain that they have similar problems. When their children need a bit of special attention teachers automatically advise special schools.”
“In order to ensure an ethnically unbiased system and end the ongoing discrimination of Romany children we need to change the diagnostic methods used by teachers and psychologists in ascertaining a child’s potential and have greater control over those who make these decisions. The accreditation of consultancies who make these decisions will be much tougher and they will be under close scrutiny. Practical schools will no longer be able to set up kindergartens where many Roma children are placed to learn social skills and overcome the language barrier and then automatically stay on. The ministry will also closely monitor the number of Romany children at practical schools. In short we aim to make sure that children who get enrolled in these schools are children with mental disabilities and not socially disadvantaged children.”