Slovak Education Ministry establishes expert team focused on solving problems with the education of members of national minorities
The Slovak Education Ministry has created an expert team to focus on the issue of neglect in the education of national minorities and ethnic groups, and a press spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic informed the Slovak News Agency (SITA) of the decision on 19 May. The expert team was established by the State Secretary for Education, Monika Filipová ("Freedom and Solidarity" - SaS), whom SITA quoted as saying that it is crucial Slovakia begins implementing an action plan on inclusive education and the prevention of segregation.
The current leadership of the ministry, moreover, must come to terms with the legal steps taken by the EU against the Slovak Republic on suspicion of breaching the EU Racial Equality Directive. Filipová noted that the ministry is aware that it is necessary to address the neglected issue of the education of minorities, mainly with respect to Romani children.
"For that reason I have decided to put together an expert team at the ministry with whom we will intensively work on preparing adequate, feasible measures," the State Secretary said. She added that some other components of her job that are not negligible include communicating about this issue with the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Permanent Representation of the Slovak Republic to the European Union, the Slovak Government Plenipotentiary for the Romani Community and the Public Defender of Rights.
Filipová said it is necessary to send the signal that the Slovak Republic wants to communicate about and discuss these problems with the European Commission. "I have addressed the problems in the area of dealing with these suspicions of the discrimination of Romani children in education with the Czech and Hungarian governments as well," SITA quoted her as saying.
"It is exactly a common stance on this subject that could be a crucial instrument for aiding us with exiting the vicious circle of mutual exclusion," SITA quoted the State Secretary on Education as saying. In October, the European Commission published its reasoned opinion on the issue urging compliance with the directive of the European Union on racial equality.
"In Slovakia a disproportionate share of Romani children are enrolled into special schools or classes for children with mental disability, and in mainstream education Romani children are also marginalized by enrolling them into exclusively Romani classes or schools," the European Commission said. The country was given two months to take appropriate measures or the European Commission could decide to send the case to the EU Court of Justice.
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