Romnews Network: Roma segregation in Hungarian schools


To: minelres-l@riga.lv
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 21:20:17 -0800
From: MINELRES moderator <minelres@mailbox.riga.lv>
Subject: Romnews Network: Roma segregation in Hungarian schools

From: MINELRES moderator   <minelres@mailbox.riga.lv>

Original sender: Roma National Congress <Romnews@compuserve.com>

Romnews Network: Roma segregation in Hungarian schools


Roma segregation in Hungarian schools
Budapest / HUNGARY ( RNN Correspondent ), February the 8th 1998

Some of Hungary's schools are segregating Roma children by educating them
outside normal classes despite laws banning the practice, a conference was
told on Wednesday.

The conference on the educational situation of Roma, organised by the
government's National and Ethnic Minorities Office, heard evidence that up
to 10 percent of Roma children are educated separately from Gadje without
the consent of their parents.

Inoffical Roma Parents get a small account of money, from the Hungarian
Government  when they sending there children direcly into special need
classes. It added that thousands of others are unnecessarily placed in
special needs classes. "Five to 10 percent of Roma children are segregated
into separate classes," the report's author, Peter Rado of the Open Society
Instutute, "The parents are not consulted."

Rado said that Roma children  made up a disproportionately high number
of children in schools for the mentally handicapped and for pupils with special
learning difficulties. "The total percentage of Roma children in the education
system is 7.2 percent, but in the special needs schools the rate is about
50 percent," he said. "This means about 15,000 pupils are delivered to these
schools and only a small proportion of these are really handicapped." Rado
said Roma children also tended to be excluded from extra-curricular activites
such as swimming lessons or extra English classes.

He said the reasons for segregation had more to do with teaching methods
than with prejudice. "In central and eastern Europe the pedagogical methods
are much more curriculum-centred than personality-centred," he said. "The
teachers don't pay too much attention to the cultural background of pupils
and the personality of the pupils."

He added that the law banning segregation needed to be clarified. "The law
says that segregating members of ethnic or national minorities is illegal but
it does not say anything about what segregation actually means and there is
no mechanism for checking," he said.

Lajos Aary-Tamas, legal adviser to Hungary's Ombudsman for Minorities, said
a report by the ombudsman to be published later this month would confirm
Rado's findings. "We have found a lot of abuses of constitional and
minority rights, including segregation,". "There is no educational reason for
separation as the curriculum is the same." Aary-Tamas said the ombudsman
would recommend that the Ministry of Education improve its communications
with schools and local authorities and devote resources to conducting a
formal inquiry to establish exactly how widespread is the practice of
segregation.

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