A close up shot of a little boy at school who looks distant and upset.

One-fifth of Czech parents believe schools without Roma and foreign students are better

The view is mainly held by proponents of traditional teaching and disciplinary methods

Prague, Nov 29 (CTK) – For all the measures in support of joint education, the exclusion of the socially disadvantaged (largely Roma) survives in the Czech educational system, according to an analysis of segregation at elementary schools, released by the Social Inclusion Agency.

Roughly one-tenth of Czechs support a bigger presence of the Roma in regular classes.

One-fifth of Czech parents believe that schools without Roma and foreigners are of a higher quality than those attended by such children. The view is mainly held by the proponents of traditional teaching and discipline.

Along with children with behavioral disorders and suffering from autism, the Roma population constitutes the least accepted group among Czech parents.

Behavioral disorders are resented by 61 percent, presence of Roma and children with autism by about one-quarter of parents.

The view that the presence of Roma and foreigners reduce the quality of a school is mostly shared by parents who think education should place an emphasis on the amount of schoolwork and grades.

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The rejection of the Roma and children with problematic behavior reflects the negative view of a part of the public of inclusion or joint education at school.

About one-quarter of the respondents said they strictly reject inclusive education. The parents least support the inclusion of the children with misbehavior (6 percent) and Roma (13 percent).

Over one-half of Czechs were considering sending their child to a different class if there were five Roma children or children with behavioral disorders in the class.

In the case of the children with behavioral disorders, the limit was four pupils, in the case of foreigners six pupils, and when it comes to children from socially weak families, ten.

Around one-third of Czechs believe that joint education may help the weak, but it harms the rest because teachers are unable to pay sufficient attention to the latter.

Inclusion is mainly rejected by people with higher education as 36 percent of them believe that the inclusion of the disadvantaged will not help anyone. Among mothers and fathers with elementary education, the view is held by 23 percent.

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The efforts to introduce joint education are also rejected by some Roma parents who often want their children to be among their relatives and friends.

Last year, the ombudsman report said there were 77 elementary schools in the Czech Republic in which Roma schoolchildren make up over one-half of pupils and 58 with over one-third of the Roma.

In all, 12 elementary schools are only attended by Roma, according to statistics from the Education Ministry.

The agency said there was no visible shift towards applying measures against segregation the Czech Republic passed in reaction to a ruling of the European Human Rights Court which condemned the Czech Republic over discrimination of Roma children in education in 2007.

The exclusion of socially disadvantaged children is worsened by parents having a choice of the school. In all, 21 percent chose a school than outside their catchment area. Parents with higher education tend to do so more often than the rest as they prefer a school with quality instruction.

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