Rap video exhorts Roma parents not to send children to special school
A new rap video exhorting Roma parents not to allow their kids to be sent to special schools for the mentally handicapped is currently doing the rounds on YouTube. So far it’s been seen over 25,000 times, a respectable number for the Czech Republic, and has several hundred ‘likes’. It’s the work of a Czech NGO involved in the decade-long struggle to get Roma kids into regular primary schools.
The clip is the work of a Czech NGO called Slovo 21, which is financially supported by Germany’s Heinrich Boll Foundation. Slovo 21’s Lyubov Grunkovskaya says despite some progress in recent years, there’s still a disproportionately high number of Roma children attending remedial schools in the Czech Republic.
The clip, which is shot in various locations around Prague, features a number of successful Roma people – a nurse, a TV journalist, a teacher – who didn’t go to special school but stayed within the mainstream education system, ending up at university and finally on the path to a fulfilling career. Most Roma receive an inferior education at a special school, then attend some sort of vocational school before getting a low-skilled job. If they find a job - many end up on the dole.
“Some of them studied at special schools themselves. So when the social workers recommend they send their kids there too, you know, because they studied there, because they know how it looks, they’re never informed that there is a difference in the study programmes, and a difference in what kind of kids should be there. So this clip is about informing parents that they have a choice, and that by placing their children in regular public schools, their children will have more opportunities in life.”