MINELRES: EUMAP report: 'Equal Access to Quality Education for Roma in Hungary'

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Sat Jun 23 15:00:43 2007


Original sender: Ivan Ivanov <ivan.ivanov@erionet.org>


EUROPEAN ROMA INFORMATION OFFICE

20/06/2007

Segregation in schools is expensive and we will all have to pay for it 

Budapest, 13 June 2007 - As one of the Governments leading the 'Decade
of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015', Hungary has achieved a high profile for
its efforts to address the many problems facing its Roma population. The
Government has adopted a series of initiatives aimed at giving Roma
children better access to education as a step towards improving their
inclusion and opportunities for the future. According to a report
released today, however, critical elements included in these
Governmental policies have been overlooked in practice so far, hindering
the possibility of any true progress. 

The monitoring report "Equal Access to Quality Education for Roma in
Hungary" released today was produced by the EU Monitoring and Advocacy
Program of the Open Society Institute in cooperation with the Change for
Children Foundation. It is a comprehensive analysis of basic educational
indicators, as well as of the major barriers and constraints that
prevent Roma in Hungary from enjoying equal access to quality education.
In 2007, the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All, the report
shows that many Roma children in Hungary continue to face
discrimination, isolation or exclusion from education. 

Segregation is officially illegal in Hungary. However, research
indicates that the segregation of Roma children into segregated schools
and classes has been on the rise over the past 15 years. In particular,
the Government has so far not adequately addressed the needs of Roma in
schools located in segregated residential areas where there is no or
little non Roma population with which to integrate. 

The Hungarian edition of the report was launched today in Tiszabura.
Despite being a member of the OOIH, the National Network of Educational
Integration designed to combat segregation, the school in this rural
area still has an overwhelmingly Roma student body. 

Without addressing the larger context of geographic isolation, poverty
and deprivation in which children live, the report makes clear,
educational integration cannot succeed. According to Lilla Farkas, a
co-author of the report, "when addressing access to quality education
for Roma and impoverished majority children we must shift our focus away
from legal amendments. There is now an urgent need for re-training
teachers in modern teaching techniques and also rethinking the design of
urbanisation policies.. Where the whole community is excluded and
isolated, measures must reach farther to truly grant equal access." 

The report released today also highlights the absence of an effective
inspection mechanism for schools. In contrast with other countries in
the region, Hungary has no comprehensive system for monitoring schools'
compliance with basic education legislation; instead, local governments
are responsible for exercising control over schools in their
jurisdiction. According to the report, local inspections have proven
ineffective in identifying problems such as segregation, and the report
cites an example where OKEV, the national body with limited powers of
inspection, has also failed to condemn segregation where it is evident. 

Drawing upon material collected in three case studies, including
Tiszabura, the OSI report exposes serious shortcomings in the training
and support to teachers in the classroom. Even the Decade Action Plan
developed by the Government makes no specific mention of the need to
improve this essential area. While teachers may attend courses to
develop their abilities to work with modern, child-centred methods, when
they return to their classrooms they often revert to a traditional,
lecture-based approach. Without access to ongoing support and continuous
education, the report argues, teachers may continue to rely on
nineteenth-century methods to teach the children of the twenty-first
century. 

The monitoring report is accompanied by 44 detailed and concrete
recommendations addressed at the Hungarian Government with the aim of
contributing to offer Roma children in Hungary a better future. 

Notes to the editors

The monitoring of Equal Access to Quality Education for Roma is a multi
country project covering the nine countries participating in the Decade
of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015. The monitoring is carried out by the EU
Monitoring and Advocacy Program (EUMAP) of the Open Society Institute
(OSI), in cooperation with OSI's Education Support Program (ESP) and
Roma Participation Program (RPP). Local partner NGOs and experts conduct
the research in each country. The full text of the reports in English
and in translation is available online at http://www.eumap.org. More
information on OSI is available at http://www.soros.org. 

The Hungarian report was prepared in cooperation with the co-author of
the report, Dr. Lilla Farkas, lawyer at the Chance for Children
Foundation; and with Szilvia Nemeth, education specialist and
researcher, Hungarian Institute for Educational Research and
Development; Attila Z. Papp, researcher, Hungarian Academy of
Science/Research Institute of Ethnic and National Minorities; Julianna
Boros, researcher, political sociologist; Zsofia Kardos, researcher,
Koping Datorg Zrt. 

The report is available online at
http://www.eumap.org/pressinfo/press_releases/roma_ed/hungary/englishpr.pdf
 
For further information: Lilla Farkas, tel.. 06302017461, e-mail
farkas.lilla@cfcf.hu
  
_______________________________________
 
The European Roma Information Office (ERIO) is an international advocacy
organization, which promotes political and public discussion on Roma
issues by providing factual and in-dept information on a range of policy
issues to the European Union institutions, Roma civil organizations,
governmental authorities and intergovernmental bodies. 
 
The ERIO cooperates with a network of a large number of organizations
and acts to combat racial discrimination and social exclusion through
awareness raising, lobbying and policy development.
 
ERIO 
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Brussels 1040 
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For more information:

E-mail: ivan.ivanov@erionet.org

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