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October 20, 2018
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Czech EdMin says number of Romani children educated according to reduced standards has not changed in three years

7.1.2018 17:17
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The number of Romani children who are educated according to reduced standards has almost not changed at all during the last three years. Almost every eighth Romani child in primary school is learning according to the curriculum for schoolchildren with mild mental disability.

Roughly 12.7 % of Romani schoolchildren are affected. According to the Czech News Agency, those are the findings of a report on the fulfillment of the plan for measures to contribute to the inclusion of Romani children into the mainstream schools.

According to the qualified estimates just released, there are 33 704 Romani boys and girls attending primary school in the Czech Republic this year. In 2007, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the Czech Republic violated 18 Romani children's right to education and discriminated against them when they were reassigned to the "special schools".

In September 2016, the so-called inclusion program began in the Czech Republic to include children with special needs into mainstream schools. The Education Ministry annually submits a report to the Government on the progress towards fulfilling the measures.

Babiš's cabinet has been familiarized with the findings. The information is also regularly sent to the Council of Europe.

The report, including statistics, is to be provided to the Council by mid-February. The report for the Government will state that according to expert estimates there are 4 290 Romani children attending schools with educational programs for mild mental disability, or 12.73 %.

During the last school year, that percentage of Romani schoolchildren was 12.75 %, a total of 4 318 people. The proportion, therefore, has almost not changed.

Romani children comprised 29.5 % of the pupils of such schools. Last year they comprised 30.9 %.

Approximately 900 Romani children have been added to the mainstream schools during the last year, which according to the report "more or less corresponds" to the influx of more populous cohorts. There are 4 152 primary schools in the Czech Republic.

A total of 926 108 children are educated in the primary schools. Romani schoolchildren represent 3.6 % of all primary school pupils.

Depending on the region, however, their proportion significant differs. In the Ústecký Region, every ninth schoolchild is Romani, while in Prague every 100th schoolchild is.

More than one-fourth of Romani children are being educated in schools in the Ústecký Region, while almost one-fifth of Romani children are in school in the Moravian- Silesian Region. In the Zlín Region, almost 23 % of Romani children attend "special schools".

The lowest proportion is in the Karlovy Vary Region, where it is roughly 7 %. More than one-fifth of all Romani children are attending schools where more than half of their fellow pupils are Romani.

There are 77 such schools in the Czech Republic. In 12 of those schools, the number of Romani pupils is more than 90 %.

According to the Czech Government's most recent annual report on the state of human rights, which was discussed last year by Sobotka cabinet, discrimination against Romani children in education persists even after the beginning of the inclusion program. While Romani children are not being reassigned into the so-called "special Schools", they are frequently being separately educated in all-Romani classes or schools.

According to the document, "all or majority-Romani schools or classes" that are considered of lesser quality are being created. The authors of the report pointed out that sometimes Romani parents themselves are behind the decision to educate their children separately from non-Romani children.

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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