Czech Greens: School Act amendment supports segregation, returns us to the past
Czech legislators are scheduled to discuss the Government's amendment to the Schoot Act, the aim of which is to make it possible to enroll pupils who would be capable of completing mainstream primary school without assistance and pupils from different cultural or social environments into the "practical schools". The Green Party (Strana zelených - SZ) calls the amendment's approach an unacceptable return to the past.
The Greens consider support for inclusive education to be the correct strategy for the country. The proposed amendment would make it possible for pupils of average intelligence who are not mentally disabled to be enrolled into "practical schools" - all that would be required is that they suffer from a learning disorder (for example, dyslexia).
Such pupils would, of course, be capable of attending mainstream primary schools with assistance, which would mean they would enjoy greater certainty of continuing their education and better opportunities to assert themselves on the labor market. A very problematic aspect of the proposed legislation is also the option of enrolling a children from a different cultural environment into the "practical schools" on the basis of that child's living conditions, which would lead to even greater intensification of the segregation of such children and their repeating their parents' fates.
The Greens are supporting proposals for changes to the legislation that have been put forward by the Czech Professional Society for Inclusive Education. "Minister Chládek wants to address the problem of the unnecessarily high number of 'practical schools' by enrolling pupils in them who could study without any greater problems in mainstream primary school. In addition to children with dyslexia, the minister also wants to send children to those schools who are only culturally different from everyone else or who come from impoverished families. This is not just unjust, it is irrational, because it will create an army of people who are hard to employ. Minister Chládek is returning to segregation, and that's wrong," said Jana Drápalová, the Green Party's First Vice-Chair.
The party also warns that the Special Education Centers, which are part of the "practical schools", are the bodies that will decide children's diagnoses and their futures and that their decisions could significantly lack objectivity. "The draft law is also definitely not in accordance with the seven-year-old judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, 'D.H. and others against the Czech Republic.' According to that judgment, the Czech Republic is reinforcing a completely disproportionate number of Romani children in the 'practical schools'. The minister is proposing a solution that will again increase the number of children excluded from mainsteam instruction," says Pavla Brady, the Greens' Second Vice-Chair.
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