Commentary: Czech Education Minister says "Romani schools" won't change overnight as a result of new law
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?
- Czech Education Ministry says inclusion will cost more than one billion crowns per year
- Czech Education Minister insists on abolishing curriculum for "mild mental disability"
- Czech PM may nominate Deputy Human Rights Minister as new Education Minister
- Tasks awaiting the Czech Education Ministry need more than a temporary replacement in charge
- Czech MPs support bill to compensate illegally sterilized women
- Czech national audit says schools were not prepared for inclusion and local governments are not drawing funds for it in socially excluded localities
- Czech Education Ministry wants to end funding for assistants to thousands of disabled children, expert says this will ruin inclusive education
- Slovak Education Ministry establishes expert team focused on solving problems with the education of members of national minorities
- Central European University offers stipend to Romani students for online summer school, deadline 13 May
- Czech foundation introduces new online platform for tutoring services
- Adriana Kotlárová, educator at school with many Romani pupils: Families have no Internet access, personal contact unavoidable even during COVID-19
- Czech primary schools begin first-grade enrollment, children not present due to COVID-19 restrictions
- Applications to Central European University preparatory course for Romani graduate students can be submitted until mid-March
- Czech Government Commissioner for Human Rights files report of crime over media coverage of her past
- Czech EdMin proposes new system to harmonize differences among educational advisory centers' recommendations
- Czech Republic's Museum of Romani Culture to educate students at memorial site of former concentration camp at Lety