Michal Mižigár: Inclusion is an opportunity for a better life
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!
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- Commentary: Corporal punishment at the "inclusive school"
- Czech study finds publication for teachers defended status quo and opposed inclusion
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- Czech NGO whose head spreads hatred against Muslims and refugees will continue to work with Govt Agency for Social Inclusion
- Czech Govt Agency for Social Inclusion begins work with mayor who keeps attacking Roma
- Czech Republic: Canadian education expert says only an inclusive school is a really good school
- Czech Govt Agency for Social Inclusion reviews local group working with Romani children after its head attacks the HateFree Culture initiative
- Czech Govt Agency for Social Inclusion's dilemma: What to do with haters of "HateFree" who work with Romani children?
- Czech President says he vetoed education amendment because of inclusion
- Commentary: Czech tabloid quotes Romani man as opposing inclusive education, other Romani representatives respond
- Czech Senate approves education amendment in full, opponents of inclusion failed to convince them otherwise
- Adriana Trejtnarová: Inclusive education must include everything
- Parent of child with Down Syndrome writes open letter to Czech tabloid waging anti-inclusive education campaign
- David Beňák on the Czech inclusive education debate, the invisible, and the unheard
- Analysis: Czech tabloid launches campaign against inclusive education
- Czech Republic: Two-day conference on inclusive education underway
- Czech Constitutional Court receives motion to abolish inclusion in amendment to Schools Act
- Patrik Banga: Inclusion? Definitely yes!
- New Czech Education Minister to focus on which diagnoses do not necessitate inclusive education
- Open Society Fund Prague conference on Romani children's access to education: How to explain the delay?
- David Beňák: Health inequality in the Czech Republic a topic now that Romani infant mortality double the national average
- Czech Television: Successful Romani families aid the community
- Tomáš Ščuka: Unwritten social rules make racism against the Romani minority socially acceptable
- Hungary: Protests criticize Government, including over Roma integration
- US expert from the Bronx on inclusive education: Involve schools whose principals are prepared for this work
- Alexander Olah: Twenty years of poor Roma being integrated by Romani elites in the Czech Republic
- Commentary: Paradoxes in the war on political correctness
- Czech survey finds most people not opposed to inclusion, but children living with disabilities or Romani children raise concerns
- Interview with Czech Vice-Mayor who believes the Govt method for identifying Romani people crosses the line
- Karin Marques: A visit to the Romani children in the Slovak schools
Tags:Inkluzivní vzdělávání, integration, romští žáci, Equality
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