Czech study finds publication for teachers defended status quo and opposed inclusion
The EDUin organization has published a study by researcher Dušan Klapko from Masaryk University in Brno about the discourse used by the publication "Teachers News" (Učitelské noviny) when discussing the issue of inclusive education. The study finds that from 2010-2014, that publication defended the interests of the "practical" schools and opposed inclusion.
The study found that "Teachers News" dedicated more space to those opposed to either partial or total inclusion. Proponents of inclusion, which the paper identified as the Education Ministry and nonprofit organizations, were given very little space.
The opponents of inclusion who presented their opinions in the paper said they considered it necessary to uphold the selective nature of the Czech schools because, in their view, it "better meets the specific needs of Romani children". According to the study, opponents of inclusion also said they believed problems with educating Romani pupils were caused by the environment such pupils came from, and they ascribed the characteristics they viewed as causing such problems to the Romani environment generally.
The study also found that those opposed to inclusion "construe the cause of the problem in educating Romani pupils as being the low value of education in that environment, parental neglect, and the reproduction of bad social role models." According to the study, those opposed to inclusion do not believe it is possible to achieve any significant change in this regard, and that inclusion would be inexpedient, because it would just lead to integration that "would have the character of coexistence on the school bench (adjacent to each other, but not together)", which paradoxically might intensify segregation because the number of private, elite schools could grow as a consequence.
The opponents of inclusion who wrote for "Teachers News", according to the study, also believed that proponents of inclusion did not have sufficient expertise or practice in education and did not know the environment deeply. Klapko found that the newspaper repeatedly impugned the pedagogical expertise of nonprofit sector representatives, charging them with being motivated by greed and with exaggerating the problem politically, and blaming the Education Ministry for being too weak to resist their pressure.
The researcher sees the origin of the clashes between those on opposite sides of the issue as coming from their different perspectives on how to solve the problem, perspectives that mainly stem from the different practical experiences of those in each camp. He reaches the conclusion that each side is pursuing its own version of a similar vision about equal opportunities in education and social justice.
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