Czech Govt approves response to Brussels denying Roma discrimination in schools
The Czech Republic is objecting to the European Commission's charges that the state discriminates against Romani children in the schools. The country's official stance was approved today by the Government and Czech Radio's Radiožurnál station has a copy of the document.
In September the Commission threatened to sue the Czech Republic over its high number of Romani children in special education. Brussels formally contacted the Czech Republic with a request for information regarding the alleged discrimination of Romani children in the education system.
The move was the first step in a proceeding that may end up before the EU Court of Justice. Prague was given two months to respond.
According to Radiožurnál, the Government approved a response today in which it rejects the Commission's charges that Romani children are being discriminated against in the schools. "The Government believes the European Commission does not have sufficiently precise data about the number of Romani children in special education compared to the number of Roma in the population as a whole," the radio station reports.
Moreover, Radiožurnál reports that the Czech Republic objects to the Commission dealing with the situation at all, because education matters, according to the Government, are not within the European Union's purview. The Commission, for which the fight against the discrimination of Romani people is a priority, has called on its Member States on various occasions to ensure Romani children's access to quality education.
At the end of last year, in its recommendations to the Member States on Romani integration, the Commission emphasized the need for equal treatment and an end to segregation. The disproportionate, frequent placement of Romani children into the "practical schools" or other special education arrangements can be considered segregation.
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