A new report by the England and Wales charity Equality claims that in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Romani ethnic (Gypsy) children are disproportionately placed in segregated or special schools for the mentally disabled.
Hindu statesman and President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, Rajan Zed, commented that this reported segregation of Romani children was unreasonable, unfair, immoral and discriminatory. He points out that this is especially unacceptable in new European Union (EU) members states, as Europe prides itself for its human rights record.
Zed has urged the EU to intervene immediately.
In its report, Equality claims that:
"A large majority of Roma students said they had experienced racist bullying or some sort of verbal abuse by their non-Roma peers at Czech and Slovak schools, as well as discriminatory or unequal treatment by their teachers, who were alleged to have punished them physically in a number of cases."
The analysis, entitled "School attainment of Roma pupils: From segregation to integration", was published last week, writes Romea.cz.
Key findings of the analysis include:
- 85 % of all Romani children researched had been assigned to either segregated schools or "special education" in the Czech Republic or Slovakia.
- The average attainment of 9-15 year old Romani pupils in math and reading skills were only slightly below the average of their peers at British mainstream schools.
- Less than 4% of Romani pupils were diagnosed in the UK as having special educational needs based either in learning difficulties or some other disadvantage.
- Most Romani pupils said that in the Czech or Slovak schools they had experienced racially motivated bullying from their non-Romani classmates, as well as discrimination and unequal treatment from their teachers.
Zed is campaigning for the unacceptable maltreatment of Roma children stop, stating that the "shocking" and "heartbreaking" practices had no place in 21st century Europe and "should immediately go".
The continued segregation of Roma children leads to a poor quality of education that narrows chances of success and social mobility for them. This behavior is condemning them to a life of poverty, claims Zed.
"All children were equal and should mix with each other for better Czech, Slovak and European future societies. All children should have the right to education without any discriminatory practices to become healthy members of the society."
Zed is keen to see equal opportunities for Roma children and their communities, campaigning for avenues of full participation in Czech and Slovak life.