School not to open special class for Romani pupils
A primary school in Valasske Mezirici will open only one first class for all children and not a separate class for Romanies only, school head teacher Oto Medek announced on Tuesday after a meeting with ministerial officials.
Medek has discussed the issue with the deputies to the education and human rights ministers, Klara Laurencikova and Czeslaw Walek, respectively.
On the basis of consultations with the school management, parents and experts, the Town Hall in Valaske Mezirici originally decided to launch an experimental class that was to enable Romany children to grasp school routines more quickly.
The project was allegedly to prevent Romany children from ending up in special schools for pupils who need a special approach over their severe learning difficulties or physical disabilities.
Most Romany kids namely do not attend kindergartens where they would prepare for school attendance.
The ministries' representatives on Tuesday promised the school management to help them with the integration of Romany children into society and organise various support programmes.
Medek said on Tuesday that the original plan was meant well.
A total of 16 children, including ten Romanies, will start attending the first class in the school as from September.
"At present when racist views are being intensified, we must say it clearly and simply that not segregation into two classes but one class leads to integration," said Walek.
The school is now attended by some 40 Romany kids.
Laurencikova pointed out that the ministry would try to provide a school psychologist and a special teacher for the school.
The school is seeking integration, but "with good intent" it has selected quite an unfortunate solution," Laurencikova added.
A kindergarten is planned to be established within the primary school in the future.
The primary school has cooperated with the Zeferino centre, operated by a local charity, in the Romany children's preparation for school attendance.
The school and the Town Hall agree that the integration of Romany children is successful. It is proved by the fact that more and more Romanies advance to higher classes now. Only one Romany child was enrolled for a special school this year, while most Romanies were placed there in the past.
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