romea - logo
April 24, 2018
extended search

Michal Mižigár: Inclusion is an opportunity for a better life

2.12.2016 20:38
Michal "Mižu" Mižigár (PHOTO: Tomáš Bystrý)

Last month we marked the ninth anniversary of the victorious "D.H." judgment at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, in which 18 Romani people from Ostrava who had been unjustifiably reassigned to what were then called "special schools" saw justice done and defended their right to a quality education. I would like to share a story with you about why it is important for all children to have equal access to education.

My dear friend of many years, Bedřich, did not have the kind of good luck that I did. As a child, he was more lively than others during lower primary school, so the teacher invited his parents to school and convinced them that "special school" would be the best solution for their son.

Bedřich had no disabilities - he was a healthy child. His parents had attended "special school" under the previous regime, and they were not at all aware of the gravity of their decision, which closed the gates on a succesful life for their son.

Today Bedřich is 28, he has two children, and he is a very efficient person with excellent communications and organizational capabilities, good critical thinking skills, and fluent knowledge of three languages. Despite those qualities, he cannot find employment, I dare say because he is a Romani man in the Czech Republic, and unfortunately also a graduate of "special school".

His parents had no inkling that education would be significant for him. We don't even know why his teacher arrived at the conclusion she did, whether she wanted to get rid of a pupil who was making her uncomfortable and so "rewarded" him for that for the rest of his life, or whether there were other reasons that led to her decision of which we may never learn.

I admire Bedřich for never speaking ill of his teacher. We can see from his story, though, that not just Romani children, but all who come from socially exlcuded environments need aid in order to stand their ground in the environment of the Czech schools.

The failure of a pupil in school is not a sign of stupidity, but rather a sign that something in that pupil's life is not functioning, is not in order. Aid for these pupils is important because it will be returned back to all of society, which is created by all of us.

I regret that many generations of Romani pupils have never received a quality education. They did not get the chance to escape the vicious circle of their poverty, socially excluded environment, and stigmatized Romani identity, to successfully make their way into the labor market and integrate into society.

Unfortunately, most Romani people have been graduates of the "special schools". The hope of a better life and a better starting point for their children is still miles away from them.

I don't want to end this negatively - the consolation remains that during the last 10 years, the number of Romani people studying at secondary schools and universities has grown. It's not possible to discuss exact numbers, but speculation is that there are several hundred Romani secondary school students and dozens of college students.

That is why I would welcome data collection that would provide us with information about the actual situation of Roma in education. Then we could reflect on how to aid such pupils.

I am convinced that if Bedřich had attended school today, when inclusion has been launched, he would not have to be reassigned to "special school" and his life might look absolutely differently. We should all want equal conditions for all children and we should do the same for the rest of us - all of society!

Michal Mižigár, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
Views: 986x

Don't miss:

Related articles:


Inkluzivní vzdělávání, integration, romští žáci, Equality


--ilustrační foto--

Czech Republic: More than 3 000 Roma celebrate International Romani Day on a square in Ostrava

9.4.2018 7:54
More than 3 000 people, the vast majority of them Romani, assembled on Saturday afternoon on Svatopluk Čech Square in Ostrava to celebrate International Romani Day. The initiators of the event were two Romani students, Vladimír Čermák and Vladimír Kočko.
 full story

Miranda Vuolasranta, President of the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF)

European Roma and Travellers Forum: Roma Rights at a Crossroads

8.4.2018 14:49
Roma Day is the occasion for all Roma from all over the world to remember the troubled history of our people. It is also the opportunity to reflect on what needs to be done to preserve our identity, our culture and, most of all, our language.
 full story

Romani children from choir whose summer camp was shot at write to Czech PM, Police, seeking apology

6.4.2018 15:51
Romani children from the Čhavorenge choral ensemble led by Ida Kelarová have written a letter to the Czech Police and to Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš in which they remind them of the incident they experienced during the summer of 2016 and the fact the Czech Police have not yet apologized to them for their response. "In August 2016 we were at the Romano drom summer school for the arts. As we returned from a treasure hunt, a gentlemen ran out of his house shouting racist abuse at us. He then fired a weapon. It was absolutely close by. We were all terrified. We were afraid somebody would assault us. There were some very young children among us," the children's letter reads.
 full story


Každý diskutující musí dodržovat PRAVIDLA DISKUZE SERVERU Moderátoři serveru si vyhrazují právo bez předchozího upozornění skrýt nevhodné příspěvky z diskuse na Ty pak budou viditelné jen pro vás a vaše přátele na Facebooku. Při opakovaném porušení pravidel mohou moderátoři zablokovat zobrazování vašich příspěvků v diskusích na ostatním uživatelům.

More articles from category

romea - logo