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Commentary: Czech Education Minister says "Romani schools" won't change overnight as a result of new law

23.10.2015 19:19
Kateřina Valachová  became the Czech Education Minister in 2015. (PHOTO: www.osf.cz)
Kateřina Valachová became the Czech Education Minister in 2015. (PHOTO: www.osf.cz)

In an interview for the daily Deník.cz, Czech Education Minister Kateřina Valachová said that the ministry's plan to educate all children together is not "social engineering" and that people should not believe that it will mean the Romani children who attend "Romani schools" in the ghettos will suddenly begin attending schools elsewhere. Inclusion, according to the minister, is not something to undertake casually.

"For schools that are situated, for example, in socially excluded localities and are attended completely or mostly by Romani children, the new law does not represent any kind of far-reaching change. On 1 September 2016 those schools definitely will not be closed, and their pupils will not begin attending neighborhood schools through the waving of a magic wand," the minister says in the interview.

"No one has ever planned any such thing, we are not playing at being social engineers. These schools, even though predominantly Romani children are being educated in them, are already today doing their very best to not function as closed fortresses. The new law gives us the chance to educate children together in future because the current material and staff barriers to such education will no longer exist," the minister says.

This is a realistic perspective on this matter. There actually is no magic wand to wave.

However, in my opinion this is somewhat of a weird perspective on the future of inclusion to hear from the politician responsible for enforcing the law. Isn't she a little too stuck in the status quo?

Indeed, what does the minister even mean by "social engineering"? Is it only "social engineering" that can achieve the attendance of Romani children from the ghettos at schools together with other children?

What does "educating together" mean to those who say they are not "social engineers"? Does it mean something like "separate but equal"?

The minister probably is trying to say that change won't happen from one day to the next and that we have a basis here from which to work toward the goal of educating all children together. We will have chances to that now because there will be no "material or staff" barriers, which is certainly true.

What about "social" barriers, though? For example, that the "white" parents won't send their children to the "Romani schools", or that they will not want the children from the "ghetto schools" to transfer into the "normal" ones?

What about the fact that the number of ghettos here is increasing instead of declining? What are we to do about that?

Is every instruction for change "social engineering"? Or do the Social Democratic politicians responsible for educating all children together and for combating social exclusion have a different political perspective on this matter?

Michal Komárek, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
Views: 346x

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Inkluzivní vzdělávání, vyloučená lokalita, Vzdělávání, zákon



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