Czech Republic invested less into Romani students last year
Last year the Czech state invested CZK 5.6 million [EUR 204 000] into supporting Romani students attending higher vocational and secondary schools. The money went to young people from poorer families to cover the costs of commuting, meals, and school supplies.
Compared to 2012, the sum invested has declined significantly (from CZK 7.98 million, or EUR 291 000). The numbers are available from annual reports about the situation of national minorities in the Czech Republic.
According to a group of pro-Romani and Romani experts focused on the issue of the Czech Republic drawing EU funds, the country should use EU financing during the coming years to build up a "Romani elite". According to the Government's report on the situation of the Romani minority, the proportion of Romani people with a high school education is much lower than the proportion of high school graduates among the rest of the population.
A study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has shown that pupils from worse home backgrounds are twice as likely to achieve worse school results in the Czech Republic. The study found that Romani schoolchildren often do not continue their education after primary school but prefer to go into apprenticeships.
Moreover, annual reports show that on average, one-fifth of all young people in the Czech Republic drop out of school before
completing their secondary education. Last year 130 schools successfully applied for support for their Romani pupils between January and September.
The schools divided a total of CZK 2.45 million (EUR 89 000) between them. The money aided 540 Romani schoolchildren.
Of those funds, CZK 760 200 (EUR 27 700) went to transportation, CZK 613 000 (EUR 22 340) to meals and CZK 569 300 (EUR 21 000) to school supplies. Accommodation cost a total of CZK 148 300 (EUR 5 400) and tuition CZK 356 200 (EUR 13 000).
From September until the end of last year a total of 160 applications were approved and schools were allocated CZK 3.16 million (EUR 115 000) for their Romani pupils and students. The support was intended for 740 such children.
Of those funds, school supplies received CZK 970 700 (EUR 35 000), transportation 881 500 (EUR 32 000), meals CZK 696 300 (EUR 25 000), tuition CZK 425 300 (EUR 15 500) and accommodation CZK 186 200 (EUR 7 000). During 2012 the total amount of support for Romani schoolchildren was CZK 2.4 million higher (EUR 87 500) than in 2013.
From January through June 2012, schools were successful with 133 applications and received a total of CZK 3.28 million (EUR 120 000) for their Romani charges. The money helped 699 Romani youth with their studies.
From September through the end of 2012, such support was provided to 1 052 disadvantaged schoolchildren and students. The total funding for that part of the year was CZK 4.8 million (EUR 175 000).
The 2013 reduction could be due not only to government budget cuts, but also to lower interest in the funding. According to the Government report, young people and their families are usually deterred from studying by the financial demands and long-term nature of the commitment.
Uncertainty reigns as to whether students will finish school and be better able to find work as a result. Poorer families give preference to their offspring getting jobs quickly and starting to make money.
According to the report, such parents often do not support their youngsters sufficiently, tend to have only low levels of educational achievement themselves, and often are out of work as well. There are roughly a quarter of a million Romani people living in the Czech Republic, according to estimates.
Roughly one-third of Roma live in bad conditions in impoverished apartment complexes and neighborhoods. According to the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion, there are around 400 such ghettos in the Czech Republic in which many residential hotels have changed to meet demand.
According to an 11-member team of pro-Romani and Romani experts focused on the issue of how EU money is used, the Czech Republic should, in the years to come, directly allocate some of the financing from EU funds to Romani integration. A certain sum of money should flow into educating and shoring up a Romani elite.
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