Czech Republic: OSF Prague agrees with ombud that "preparatory classes" are not the same as nursery schools
The Open Society Fund Prague, which focuses on inclusive education, among other things, does not agree with the option of allowing children to complete their mandatory final year of preschool education by attending "preparatory classes". Like the Czech Public Defender of Rights (the ombud), Anna Šabatová, the foundation sees the threat that socially disadvantaged children will be segregated into such classes, according to the spokesperson for the foundation, Jitka Rabitsch Adamčíková.
Czech Education Minister Marcel Chládek (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) rejected that interpretation after last Friday's statement by the ombud. After the recent approval of an amendment to the Schools Act, "prepartory classes" will be open to all children as of next school year.
Open Society Fund Prague, however, considers such classes an "insufficient, random took of support". The foundation refers to the results of an analysis commissioned by the Education Ministry in 2009 according to which the influence of "preparatory classes" on the increased chances of children to achieve a quality education is not as strong as the influence of attending nursery school.
Currently such classes are frequently established at "practical primary schools" or at schools with a predominace of Romani pupils, which can have negative consequences. "The Czech schools are facing the problem of segregation not just in the 'practical schools', but also in mainstream primary schools. The Education Ministry has not yet proposed a solution for how to stop the creation of segregated schools at the level of nursery schools and preparatory classes. According to the current version of the law, there is a great danger that Romani preparatory classes will be created in segregated schools, while nursery schools will have no Romani children," said Robert Basch, Executive Director of the foundation, in a press release.
Šabatová is concerned about the perpetuation of segregation. "It's very dangerous to set this up to run along two separate lines, because that means two tracks will be created that will then never come together," she warned on 20 April 2015 during a panel discussion on the topic of equal access to education.
The ombud is convinced that during the single mandatory year of preschool education it is important for all children to be educated in nursery schools. Instead of "preparatory classes", she believes nursery schools should be supported to know how to work with children with special educational needs, including the socially disadvantaged, and to want to work with them.
Last Friday the Czech Education Minister emphasized that he believes "preparatory classes" are not segregating anyone under any circumstances. The Education Minister counts on introducing the mandatory year of preschool education in September 2017.
The hope is that children from less stimulating family environments will get a chance to make up for their handicaps prior to entering first grade. Introduction of this measure should also reduce the number of children who delay the start of their mandatory school attendance.
- Czech ombud warns Education Ministry against perpetuating segregation
- Czech Republic: Negotiations to expand scope of ombud's remit continue in the legislature
- Czech ombud responds to critics about Romani discrimination findings: Test cases are a serious approach
- Czech ombud says human rights are being violated everywhere she looks
- Czech ombud says real estate agents in Ústí Region refuse Romani clients
- Czech Gov't decides to give ombud more powers
- Czech ombud could get more powers, Government to review proposal
- Czech ombud: Number of Romani children in special education must be reduced
- Czech ombud: Discrimination against Roma underreported
- Czech ombud says her deputy's article was totally out of line
- Former Czech EdMin to become Education Ombud, defends segregation
- Czech ombud may soon acquire more powers, bill counts on it
- Czech ombud: Inclusive education the only way out of life in a segregated society
- Czech Human Rights Minister completing amendment to enhance ombud powers
- Czech ombud: Most problems concern social security
- Czech ombud: Towns need state financial aid and active employment policy
- Pavel Botoš: Who will stop the use of terms like "cigoši" in the Czech Republic?
- LIVE ONLINE BROADCAST 13:00 CET: Ceremonial awarding of certificates for ROMEA's scholarship program
- Central European University offers Master's degree preparatory course for Romani college students
- International Network against Cyber Hate and ROMEA hold conference on antigypsyism and online hate in Czech capital
- Slovak MP insulted Romani people and spread xenophobia, loses his seat after being convicted of felony defamation
- Romani college prep student in Czech Republic and ROMEA scholarship recipient hopes to become a dentist someday
- Czech Republic sees 10th BARUVAS meeting of Romani students, study abroad one of the topics
- Slovak Fascists want to change laws about online media to prevent libel
- Czech Communist Party chair alleges pork is expensive because the farm on the former concentration camp for Roma was closed, but statistics show he is lying
- Educator Martin Kaleja: From the Romani settlements in Slovakia to the Czech academic world
- Slovak Police arrest Czech citizen and two Slovak citizens on suspicion of extremism
- Antigypsyist hoax returns to Czech Internet alleging that Roma get free public transportation