ERRC intends to slap law suit on Ministry of Education|
Radio Prague, June 9th - On Tuesday, Markus Pape from the European Roma Rights Centre informed
journalists that his organization with a group of 15 Roma families are
preparing a law suit against the Ministry of Education as well as Ostrava's
Roma parents claim that the Czech educational system discriminates against
their children; an allegation they back with the fact that a high number of
Roma children are sent to special education schools. The ministry and the
education authority are therefore violating their basic human rights and
freedoms, Roma parents say.
According to Pape, the psychological tests
according to which children are evaluated and placed into the schools
suitable for them, after they fail to pass the elementary schools, disregard
the cultural differences and the language barrier. He considers this to be
the main reason why Roma children end up in special education schools 27
times more than non-Roma students. Furthermore, the influence of racial
discrimination is not ruled out and the children's progress is not being
monitored which then outrules the possibility of their transfer into regular
schools. "Roma children have been condemned to a lifelong educational
barrier which surely includes considerable social risks such as the
inability to get a good job", Pape concluded.
But Jarmila Krejcirova, the deputy-director of Ostrava's Education Authority
says that the problem lies in bad communication between Roma parents and the
schools. She added that parents have the chance to ask for a transfer of their
children during the period from the month of March to the end of June and not
even one Roma parent has asked for it so far.
Over a period of 8 months, the
European Roma Rights Centre did some research on this subject in Ostrava and
concluded that out of all the Roma children in the Moravian town, about 50%
visit special education schools and only around 2% get to go to regular schools.
Not to the surprise of Roma parents and the Centre, these figures differ greatly
from the statistics given by the Czech government. The law suit is expected to be
officially announced on June 15th.