Posted by on 24 May 2012. Filed under Current Affairs, Top news. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Only a fifth of Slovak Roma receive Secondary-school education

Slovakia still maintains a segregation policy in its schools. This was the criticism aimed at Slovakia recently by the human rights activist group, Amnesty International (AI). The problem of Slovakia’s apparent institutionalised discrimination towards its Roma population just won’t seem to go away, however much it is ignored. Amnesty International reported that the segregation of non-Roma and Roma begins long before children reach school age, with instances even happening in nursery school.

AI’s most senior representative in Slovakia, Martina Mazurova, noted that the Roma’s basic human right to an education is being violated.

Levoca is the source of the latest violation, wrote AI, with the town forming Roma-only classes as recently as September. Peter Tatarko, who is the school principal, seemingly refuses to offer any comment on classes at his school.

With Slovakia conveniently not gathering information on the ethnic make-up of their schools, AI suggests it may be difficult analysing the situation. Mazurova believes it may only be the tip of the iceberg, though.

According to a recent poll from the EU’s Agency for Fundamental Rights, from around 20,000 Europeans, Slovakia was the worst at educating young Roma in Central Europe. Only around 20 percent of Roma under the age of 24 graduated from secondary education, compared with 90 percent of under 24s of non-Roma ethnicity

Source: Sme

50 Comments for “Only a fifth of Slovak Roma receive Secondary-school education”

  1. George M

    What is it with Ayran Slovaks and all their `helpful` suggestions is based on the Roma doing something for some something on pain of a penalty if they dont . It is not as though Slovaks dont get their own huge Villa`s and 4×4 other than by cheating the Client, cheating the State, or by pure theft or bribes . No one I have seen wants to work or ever works hard here and make their fortune, they want it all just given to them .

    How about Aryan Slovaks, giving a helping hand to the less fortunate ?

  2. They could pay out the child benefit based on school attendance, although a Euro a day isn’t much of an intensive!!

  3. George M

    Perhaps I should change the nik I use from Smug Alec, to Snob Alec . What a dimwitted and stereo-type way of looking at the Roma .

    Pray tell Snob Alec, what has chasing down a small wild dog, with men and woman in horseback, plus a pack of savage hounds, that finally rip the dog animal apart …..and in in the name of sport , have anything to do with the Roma and the way they live ? The analogy is frankly bizarre ?

  4. alec hodges

    Many years ago I remember a rather posh English couple coming to live in our community in Wales. Of course they hated fox hunting and took every opportunity to express how wicked, cruel and evil all of us who dared do it were. Their attitude took a U turn one night when “charlie’ came visiting and cleared out all their laying hens. Of course the situation with the majority of the Roma population is not great but it’s largely of their own making. It’s a descending spiral of alcohol, cigarettes and total disregard for the law. Make no mistake about it the Roma who lead normal lives don’t like them either. It’s easy to criticize the Slovak attitude but please remember the “not in my back yard syndrome”.

    • Dave Crawford

      Alec ” largely of their own making?” Up until the end of the communist regime there had been “some progress” in the integration of the Roma. Since then it has gone into reverse.
      Whilst I accept that the Roma do themselves no favours behaving as they do and the understandable NIMBY attitude of the general population, that does not deflect my opinion on the root cause of the situation. Kids learn from their family and peers, if those groups have had no education or real opportunities how can the next generation understand or see a brighter future. A child who has no toilet at home, no facilities for basic hygiene will assume that the situation is normal and if his family survive by criminality then he/she will assume it is the norm. It is generally accepted that behaviour is dependant upon environment and as most Aid Agencies will tell you, if you improve a peoples invironment you give them hope, if you give them the tools to work their way out of poverty – they will.
      The descending spiral you refer to – very true but a well documented failing of govts. the world over – Australia and the Aborigines is a classic example. People with nothing to do will descend to crime and substance abuse. Give them some work and it breaks the spiral and there is plenty they could be given to do in return for their benefits even in the smallest village community.
      So, returning to your origan quote – The situation is the making of years of tinkering about, a lack of urgency, immagination and common sense tempered with a fair degree of indifference and bigotry on the part of those charged with finding a solution.

  5. Dave Crawford

    On the topic of the article – I have just re-read an article by CNN, published in 2004, about the plight of the Roma in a small village close to where I live called Svina and the only thing that has changed in the last 8 years is the number of Roma living in shanties.
    Micky the Tick was PM at the time and I quote ” The govt. is doing what it can but it’s just not our problem…….we need understanding,…… we need help.”
    Well the help came in its millions and the Roma of Svina, by all accounts, haven’t seen a cent of it so my understanding of that is the money got spent elsewhere. It would also appear that the Roma are not considered “just their problem” which seems to translate to ” we will carry on as we have done for decades with our discrimination and segregation policies and hope someone else will take care of our fellow citizens.”
    I hope Fionnuala Sweeney and CNN come back soon and make another film report on Svinia.

  6. Dave Crawford

    Wow! Big Guy, I stand corrected!

  7. The Big Guy at the Back

    Whilst I hate to be seen supporting GM, as it causes some conflect issues in some very small minds …

    The Aryan race is a concept historically influential in Western culture in the period of the late 19th century and early 20th century. It derives from the idea that the original speakers of the Indo-European languages and their descendants up to the present day constitute a distinctive race or subrace of the larger Caucasian race.The existence of an Aryan race is sometimes referred to as “Aryanism”.

    While originally meant simply as a neutral ethno-linguistic classification, it was later used for ideologically motivated racism in Nazi and neo-Nazi doctrine and hence also in others, such as occultism and white supremacism. The rest you can read on Wikixxxx

    What Hitler thought of the Slovaks is irrelivent ….GM is actually correct in his statement and that Logsar is a Aryan as they come, IMHO.

  8. Dave Crawford

    George M. you really must stop describing Losgar as Aryan, Even though it is true that the Slavic peoples are grouped with the Euro-Indian Aryians, Herr Hitler did not consider them to be true Nordic Aryians and decribed them as sub-humans. His original plan, published before the outbreak of the war, was to “cleans” the central European lands ready for Germanisation. It was only when he was scrapping the bottom of the barrel for soldiers in 1943 that he allowed Slavs to serve in the army – as cannon fodder. If it had not been for the Allies we would not now have the pleasure of Losgar’s and Lady Ga Ga,s drivel because their forebearers would have been pushing up daisies along with their Jewish and Roma brothers and sisters.

  9. Lady Ga Ga

    Cigan are not Slovak …….

  10. Dave Crawford

    And yet more…………..
    An article in the local rag goes some way to explain the attitude of the the general public. An artists impression of a new development for the Roma in Sabinov showing a beautiful, landscaped block of apartments proudly announcing that it will be funded by the EU, designed by some leading architect.
    Many hardworking Slovaks could never aspire to such property yet here we have the local authority spending EU funds like it grew on trees on Roma housing projects which far excede what is actually required. The artists impression most probably cost more than a couple of basic housing units. Social housing should be well built, easily maintained and provide for the basic housing needs not some exercise in constructing the most esthetically pleasing development in the hope of getting an award when the proposed residents will trash it within months. Another simple process totally *@%$ by idiots and non-jobs.

  11. Dave Crawford

    I am sorry but this is one of my pet subjects.

    The Roma community in an estate in Kosice is worried about about health issues and demanding re-housing after they have trashed or sold off the sanitation fittings – raw sewage in the “basements” seeping through holes they have made in the buildings, etc.
    QUESTION – Where were the white Slovak employees of the public housing department when this was happening? Public (EU Funded) property should have been managed, maintained and controlled. The Roma residents are to blame for the damage and should be punished BUT the people drawing monthy paypackets, and not doing their job should be identified and sacked.
    I have been told, time and time again, Oh.. we have given the Roma this and that…… and then they have trashed it. Why? Because white Slovaks paid to do a job either won’t or can’t do it – thats why!
    The Roma “problem” isn’t a Roma problem, it is a problem within Sk society as a whole, as demonstrated by some of the candid comments posted above, public service workers at national or local level along with school staff and the police don’t do the job they are paid to do and the Slovak public should wake upto this fact and do something about it – other than moan, complain or expect Europe to sort it out.

    Racism – FUNPHONE adverts – racist or not?

  12. EXPAT

    George,
    I heard that as well, but I also heard people from Slovakia saying that “Slovaks Stink, but Cigan stink to the bone”…is this right, I think not, it is a general statement. Yes, I write as I somtime speak and think, which is not always planned out, perhaps I will start to organize my responces in the future before I start to rave.
    It will be a problem long after we are dead and gone, but if we teach our children to look beyond color, creed, religion, sex, and social status, we may be able to help in getting a solution faster!
    I only wish the govenrment would do something to slean up all of Slovakia, not just their own block or back yard! Posted litering fine signs would be a start!

    The Mesto police should be out partolling day and night…not sitting in their cars and looking like rent-a-cops! I have only, in the past 5 years, passed a police office on the street a few times (less than a hand full)….and each time they have some sort of food or beverage in their hands and not policing the area. Makes me wonder why crime is not higher??

    OK, so everyone, have a great weekend… :-)

  13. Dave Crawford

    James
    Once again I agree with what you say and your observations.
    Kids don’t want to be teachers because the preception of the job is poor – is that the fault of the teachers or society as a whole?
    The general intolerance of the public to the Roma is indeed deep rooted. I share your dismay that many young minds have been polluted and corrupted – is this a result of the practices they witnessed at school or what they have picked up from their parents/family?
    I agree Bobby is no role model when it comes to predjudice and tolerance and I agree he probably the least morally qualified person to initiate the removal of racism from Sk society, however, he is the duly elected and appointed prime minister and I believe his oath of office requires him to uphold the law and the constitution, so it is his duty to do so.
    As for the British press – The Sun, Mail, Mirror, Daily Star and others – all guilty of preying on the genuine worries of the British people by publishing unsubstantiated rubbish and editoral comments specifically designed to enflame the mis-informed and ill educated elements of the readership.
    As for Sarkozy and Berlusconi – playing to the public, both were in trouble with scandals and the Roma issue was a popularist tool. In both countries the “problem” was identified as a lack of integration of the Roma community and poor policing policies. The crime gangs in Milan were found to controlled by Italian nationals, the sweat shops in France were run by French businesses and organised crime rings. In both countries the Roma were as much the victims of crime as they were the perpetrators and ended up as scapegoats for failing politicians.

    • James

      Dave, yes, go along with pretty much all that.

      ‘Is this a result of the practices they witnessed at school or what they have picked up from their parents/family?’

      I’m not on a crusade to defend schools or teachers here – in fact, I feel many have a case to answer – but I believe family and society are most at fault. These are attitudes that have been passed down through the generations.

      I suppose the reason I reacted against your ‘sack the heads and teachers’ thing is that existing teachers are more likely than most to be tolerant and non-judgemental. Mr Anstead makes an interesting point about Slovak teachers being more open than Czechs, so maybe there’s a sliver of hope there….

      Speaking of Cz, I lived in Olomouc for a few years. Nice metropolitan, liberal university town. So everyone thinks. But on a wall very near where I lived, the words ‘gypsies to the gas chambers’ appeared one day. Not one Czech person I spoke to expressed outrage over this. No’one thought the dividing wall in Usti nad Labem was an unreasonable measure. None thought the Roma there had any grounds for claiming asylum in countries like the UK. Many even thought the Roma were persecuting them. Wonder how/if attitudes have changed in the last few years….

  14. George M

    Expat , this is a bit hard to read, if you don`t take a bit of a breath between items it would be a better read . Try some paragraphs, or putting idea`s together and/or shortened posts, rather than a entire blast of comment like a conversation in pub…just a small suggestion . Your idea`s and comments get lost in the verbs, as it were .

    I think picking up litter is a great idea …why do Slovaks not do it , because as always they are waiting for someone else to do it ( or pay) for them .?

    The equal education of all idea is fine except , but this assumes everyone starts on the same level playing field ….if you are a Roma or infact a non Slovak Aryan expat living in Slovakia then you have no chance …

    As someone said to me , you can get the people out of the slum, but can you get the slum out of the people.

  15. James

    Dave,

    Not many primary or secondary school teachers get huge special bonuses. The job is abysmally paid and these days doesn’t even get the nod of respect it did in communist times. Again, try asking how many young people want to be teachers. Answer ; next to none. Not that any of that excuses the ineptitude and corruption described. And school heads may well be a different matter again.

    With special needs, my experience of a lot (by no means all) Slovak parents is that many don’t want the social stigma (that’s how they see it) of their kid
    having special needs statements, though they do sometimes want special treatment given on a nod and wink – the usual way these things get done in SK, I think we might agree. The result may then be that no special consideration is available to the kid when he/she comes to take an external exam and the result is disaster. Of course, the same parent that didn’t want the statement wants to know how that can be.

    But this thread was specifically about the Roma issue. We’re clearly on the same page, but I think you’re still missing the point about how deep-rooted these prejudices are. You say ‘there must be….. unbiased candidates for the vacant posts.’ If you can find significant numbers of such people, I’d love to hear about it. I’m not talking about people who can spout happy-sounding rhetoric about tolerance, because anyone can do that. Also, what gives Fico the right to go about sacking people? He’s basically a petty nationalist and, given that he governed with Johnny Slota a few years back, tolerant of racist views himself. (Slota once talked of putting Roma people in a walled ring, together with guards armed with whips. He hasn’t altered those views.)

    So Fico is part of the whole outrage. Another is what NY exposed above – that parents of 3-6 year-old kids(!) don’t want little Janko/Zuzka educated in a class with Roma kids. In other words, they want him/her to grow up thinking that Roma are not members of this society, that they are something other, to be ignored and abused for years to come. (My story of the grandmother above is, again, absolutely typical.)

    God knows what to do. But, as I also said above, EU/UK exposure of this stuff is hypocrisy. Some of the Sun/Mail headlines from a years back when some Roma were seeking asylum in the UK were as sickening as anything you’ll read here. And western governments just don’t want this issue ending up at their back door – as the Sarkozy/Berlusconi actions of 2/3 years back also demonstrated..

  16. EXPAT

    OK, so I did a brief survey of my own here at work… I asked one simple question.. “Romka”…and waited for a response.. With blank looks they ask “What”. I then said “Cigan”..and got a response, and a bit negative… I only asked what comes to your mind when you hear this! As the term Romka is a politically correct form of addressing this culture, as Afro-American is in America as to the other less dignified terms used, I realized that it is the views of society upon the “culture”, not the social status they are living in. If you take a Romka out of this society at birth and raise them under a high social household, will they still resort to destructive behaviors or non-social habits?…I think not, but this is a poor example, as I don’t see every child being born into this society as being raised in the same way their parents were, but in many cases it has even become worse! We look at the Romka that migrated further West, left the community to work abroad, these individuals are different than those that stayed, so no comparison, not in any right mind should it be. As the ones who left were searching a better life, otherwise why leave right? So, to compare the two makes no sense, especially when it comes to schooling. Now, with that said, do we segregate the races, or have initial placement testing to put those with more needs to be given the proper schooling? YES! All students entering 1st level should be tested, then place with similar resulted students, so on one would be held back due to different needs and levels. This does place people though and kids into groups, but this is society! Heck, when I was in school we had different classes for levels of students, and soon after they changes the names or numbers of the classes so it wasn’t so apparent as to who was smarter or more advanced, but this lasted 2 days! After two days, everyone knew the “Stupid class” to the “Smart class”, was if fair?, no but this is life. So, how do you fix the inequality or the perceptions, it take only one person to start a movement! I am not going to move to the Romka community, however, I would have no problem with a family of Romka moving in next door to me, but I would expect them to conform and fit in to the community, not to drag us down to their old ways, but for them to raise up to our standards! It confuses me sometimes when I ask, why it the city so dirty, and I get the response “Cigan”, but when I see the “White Slovaks” throwing the trash on the ground and defacing the public property, I am confused…it is not the Romka, it is the uneducated, poorly raised, and weak minded fools destroying their own community, as the Romak do, without the ability to have someone clean up after them. So, we pay with our tax money to have the Romka community to receive and to benefit from, but once something is given to them, it needs to be monitored as to what is done with the money! If they destroy something, make them fix it! Give them the tools to do it, after a while they adults fixing the community will start to see the problem and will not want to keep fixing, instead they will preach of how the community needs to look out for each other. “Pride”…this is what all Slovakia lacks! Pride of ownership! If you own a Flat/Byt, do you really care about anything but what is behind your front door, NOPE! This needs to change! Everyone should care about where they live, and in my own opinion, isn’t happening here in Slovakia. I lived in the huge social housing complexes in Easter Slovakia, but now I live in a new build development. My new place doesn’t have the huge difference in social status within the building from owner to owner, so it changes the area around us… Can you teach or encourage people to respect what they have? You only find out if you try to do this. My old flat had people that would never change, and I must say had some of the poorest people I have ever lived near… I would pick up trash outside, I would clean-up after people’s dogs waste, and I did this because this is where I lived. Now if everyone did this, things would change, even if the one family that was just not going to change did nothing, but everyone else would eventually start to do something more to demand a change. But as I picked up the trash, everyone saw this and then confused my reson for picking up the trash, and then they just figured that I would then pick up after them! I just hate the fact that Slovakia is a beautiful country, it has just a lack of maintenance in the whole! OK, enough rant and rave… I encourage anyone reading this to take the time to pick up the trash on the ground as you walk by and to put it into the waste bin, to mention to the dog owner to clean up after their dogs, and to stop looking at the Romka as all being bad, if you were raised in their situation, would you understand the upper class society…I think not! We all need to stop looking down on people, and start to make a difference with the society as a whole! I can only make a difference around me, but if we all do this, we make a difference across a larger place, someday these places will meet and we will all be happy!

    • Dave Crawford

      Interesting you mention cleaning up dog mess. Did you see the news article last night where Kosice is proposing DNA testing dog poo to indentify the culprits? In a country where every govt. body is pleading poverty there seems to be no end to hairbrained schemes that will cost an arm and a leg. Meanwhile the city’s armed dog crap wardens ( Mess aka Police) can continue doing jack! In a country famous for its “pay police” issue spot fines for littering, any dog owner who doesn’t have a pooper scooper and bags, fine them!

  17. The Big Guy at the Back

    Dave , I want to hammer the SOB`s , but my poor stressed wife, who actually thought changing schools would solve the problem and or be easier talked me out of it . Mind you , I did get the great pleasure of watching the a puffed up , Mrs self important Deputy Director, a woman have the arrogant wind taken out of her sales when my smart Lawyer said he would be happy include her as the first name in the Law suit …he claimed it would only cost her around 20,000 euro when she lost .

  18. Dave Crawford

    Note to JB – I get some brilliant photos from various “sources” would you like some?

  19. The Big Guy at the Back

    Dave , you mention the behavior of PUBLIC SERVANTS – headmasters, teachers, police etc.

    My Child goes to State Slovak school, although it is a little different for Slovakia, as English is taught as the first teaching language . My child had Special Needs we discovered . Nothing major, just they needed some extra classroom help and she was Assessed by experts and by Law the school MUST give this extra help ! According to the School Director and the Deputy Director no other child in the the entire school, of many hundreds of students had a need for special assistance. And anyway, they did not have the money to make such a program, just or one child . I should perhaps consider moving my child to another school, if I could not accept the schools ruling .

    Well I did not and I did not want to move my child …we went to war !

    After spending 1000 euro on a Lawyer and he,along with group meeting of 12 fine Slovak expert people , including several important people from the Slovak Education department……………..the School Director, after fighting for an hour, finally agreed ( on the threat from my Lawyer, of criminal charges being laid and that Human Rights were being violated according to the Law ) that my child must receive the help they should get by the Law and the School just have to find the budget .

    Guess what ? We now have a proper special needs program in the school and SIX other kids get special needs assistance, they did so obviously and desperately needed ..that was being ignored by those in educating children .

    If I had to go through all this crap and cost with this cretin, self important, Demi-God School Director , what chance for a poor Roma Family ?

    • Dave Crawford

      Big Guy – Amazing tale but unfortunately not suprising. The fact you had to go around the bushes at considerable expense to get a non-job to do what he was legally required to do says it all. Did you ask for compensation?
      I would have asked the School Director how much he paid himself and his observant teaching staff in “special bonuses” for the last few years – chances are that’s were the special needs funding went!
      On a related note, I regularly pass the offices of the local Schools Inspectorate, the recent hot spell has obliged them to work outdoors on sun loungers and cook their lunch on a BBQ. Apparently inspecting schools can be done in a reclining position with a magazine to read and a chicken leg to munch! need I say more!

  20. Dave Crawford

    Your comments are very true James but a start has to be made somewhere and surely the state should take the lead. If the general population see that racism has it’s consequences then some of them might start to reconsider there position. There is no silver bullet, no morning after pill and the solution will probably take generations to solve completely but that’s no excuse for not drawing a line in the sand and making a start.

  21. Dave Crawford

    After reading the many comments posted I could not help but note the incidence of PUBLIC SERVANTS – headmasters, teachers, police etc. deciding what they will or wil not do and subsequently breaking the law apparently with no consequencies. Institutionalised racism can only be erradicated by removing the racists from the organisation. Time for BnM to get out his chopper and get rid of these people from all sections of the public services – with almost 14% unemployment I have no doubt that there would be more than ample, young, well educated, unbiased candidates for the vacant posts.

    • James

      ‘Time for BnM to get out his chopper and get rid of these people from all sections of the public services – with almost 14% unemployment I have no doubt that there would be more than ample, young, well educated, unbiased candidates for the vacant posts.’

      Might work if this racism was ONLY endemic in those services you mention, but it’s not. It’s more or less the whole society. Try asking any businessman if he’d employ a Roma. Try asking a sample of 18 year-old gymnazium kids (almost none of whom want to enter public sector employment themselves) what they think of the issue. You’ll hear the same prejudices expressed. It’s everywhere. It won’t be solved just by firing a few school heads, police chiefs, or whoever.

  22. EXPAT

    If you think Europe is the only society to experience Racism or any such issues with this, you are out of touch from reality. America started the freedom for all with one man, Abraham Lincoln, when he freed the slaves. Do you think it was an easy integration into society for the Afro-American culture? NO! Learning to fit in with society, or the society that is accepted, is not easy. Imagine living in a cage for all your childhood and then being released to the world…..good example is “the Jungle Book” or for those non-readers crocodile dundee…same sort of story but different context.
    Take a child out of their “Home Environment” and you can teach them the ways of your society, but the problem is not this. Once they leave the classroom they then go home to what? I have seen and walked through a few “Roma Ghettos”, yes I was looked at as being an outsider, but they didn’t attack me… they looked in amazement as I was not in fear. Why should I be? They are human, but they countless years of living like animals in their segregated villages has done this.
    Until the government does this, one thing, it will remain to be a problem for Slovakia for many more years. There must be a program, that is State run, that will monitor the living conditions of these people. Yes, you keep building new housing for them, but who then monitors on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis the upkeep? Can you expect this culture to change just because you relocate them into a new building? NO WAY! You have to keep them accountable for their actions and their non-actions. If you limit the social benefits to the entire group, they will start to think about how they can get out of this Stigma. This is what it is, a Stigma…. but they are proud, for some reason, this is what I can’t get over. The Roma are proud.. but for what, I am not sure.
    Case in point: I grew up in an all-White community, but my first house I bought was in a 95% black community…. I bought a fixer upper but for cheap in hope I could be the one to change the area… and I did! I worked on my house and fixed it up, I talked with my neighbors as friends and they liked this. I never put my past or upbringing into their world, I only showed them that “Pride of Ownership” can go a long way….within 2 years we had only one family on the block that didn’t clean up their yard, so I went to the source, and found out that the owner was handicap – so I spent an entire holiday weekend cleaning up their yard and getting rid of over one-ton of trash and garbage from their yard…what happened, I cleaned the entire block up within 2 years, I managed to raise the property value by 200% in the area and I made great friends with my neighbors!
    How do you solve the “Roma Ghetto Life”, I don’t know, but we need to stop giving them everything and having their communities being so separate. My son doesn’t see color, only the person, this is the way I taught him and will enforce all his life.
    Last story: I enter a tram with a small family of Roma, the kids look hungry and the father very tired. I am sitting down with my daughter and feeding her with a big bag of popcorn to keep her busy. I offer the popcorn to the Roma kids and the first thing they do is look to their father for approval. Their hands, a bit dirty and worn were stretched out for a few pieces, I gave them the whole bag! Not because I was not going to share, but they needed it more than we did…I never saw such a rapid feeding Kinda like a wolf pack). But it made me happy! The looks I got from the other people around us was so mixed, some were horrified I would even offer anything, and others were confused as to why I did such a thing! This one act of kindness and not really anything to me, is why I can say I will support anything to change the views of people, but the people being helped need to realize that the help is from the heart, not with any other intension.

  23. The Big Guy at the Back

    Alan Anstead, may I applaud all you and your teams hard work !

    I read you report and I guess the most alarming thing ( but not surprising ) was that you say a large majority of Roma students said they had experienced racist bullying or some sort of verbal abuse by their non-Roma peers at 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. teachers were kind and helpful and were willing to give them time on an individual basis. Many of the Roma parents thought it would take generations to change the educational practices and attitudes in Slovakia and some doubted whether they would ever change. The recent video of the Kosice Police threatening Roma children with attack dogs and beating them come to mind .

    But what was encouraging is that Roma students in seven out of the eight locations reported that they were not experiencing any form of racism in UK schools and they believed that the All of them believed their children’s chances to succeed later on in life were much better in Britain.

    I can only encourage the British and EU authorities to bring Slovakia to book and we can all do our part as citizens by exposing this Slovak racism on the news websites ….

    • Dave Crawford

      Well said Big Guy, my thoughts exactly.

      Alan – Well done! I hope you and your team keep the pressure on especially internationally – maybe if we pour enough shame on them, the Slovaks will do something about it.

      • Thank you, Dave and The Big Guy at the Back for your encouragement. I used to be part of a team that sued governments that violated Roma rights to a fair education. Despite winning cases at the European Court of Human Rights (e.g. D.H and others v. Czech Republic), nothing has changed. So now trying the peer to peer, less confrontational approach. We took 8 UK education practitioners and 1 UK Roma policeman to the Czech Republic and Slovakia in February. To discuss with Slovak and Czech teachers what works and what doesn’t from teaching Roma children in the UK. The Slovak teachers were far more open to discussion that their Czech peers. Maybe there is hope, but it will take a long time.

  24. Distressing statistics, intense realities… I have been told by college-educated Slovak teachers that it is better for Roma to have their own school because they will only give fleas to other students. It seems like the limited means of the educational system has led everyone to accept problems and work around them (or avoid them through segregation), rather than look for alternatives and solutions.
    For what it’s worth, here’s a view into a non-Roma English classroom in eastern SK:
    http://marekslovakia.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/long-ago-in-my-country/
    Future stories will include classes in a Roma classroom in another town…

  25. George M

    Actually there are not some people , there was just the one …an Aryan Slovak .

    ……..could you not feel the difference?

  26. David

    Roma children are not stupid, as some are suggesting. They do however have behavioural problems due to the environment in which they are brought up. Put them in a real school with good teachers who care about their job and the Roma children will do just as well as the rest (this was shown with Roma in British schools). Of course, it does take money to put the proper systems in place, but it also needs Slovaks to stop treating them like dogs. Sorry, worse than dogs, and its the Mgrs and Ings that are the worst.
    (Anyway, I wouldn’t listen to anything Amnesty International says, even if they are correct on this issue. They are more of a politically correctness organization these days, getting involved in ‘women’s rights issues’ but ignoring men’s. They usually only go where the money is. Okay, I’m going off topic :-) ………)

  27. The Big Guy at the Back

    I ran a campaign against Roma Racism on my website, constantly highlighting cases that the Slovak mainstream media would try to step over after a day. Like some poor Roma guy who was beaten to death, whilst chained to a Zilina police station heating radiator. The Official report said he had a heart attack …well guess it you hit some long enough with a lump of rubber ! My poor wife and I were on the receiving end of “terrible abuse” for speaking out against racism. We received threats in the post or by email all anon of course because no Slovak has the courage to print his name on abuse and threats !

    When I went to police with the post and emails , they just said , `well what do expect for supporting these rats ` ….

    I don`t expect Slovaks to love these people, but they could show some human kindness.

    Btw Mr Slime, the rock is over there ready for you crawl back under .

  28. James

    Also agree with NY. Anything other than mixed/integrated (not sure of the best word) classes from the start of nursery school and primary school is simply wrong.

  29. James

    The most surprising thing is that it’s as many a fifth.

    What Losgar says just illustrates the whole problem – that most Slovak people simply refuse to mix, or let their children mix, with the Roma. If you have a daughter, Losgar, she might well tell you that the classroom would be quieter if there were no boys in it. But I don’t hear anyone here arguing for segregated education according to gender. So why according to race?

    A few little things from my recent experience :

    I heard a grandmother proudly saying that her granddaughter had been playing with some Roma kids but that she’d told her to come away because ‘we don’t mix with those people’.

    I’ve spent much of this week listening to a succession of teenagers mouthing platitudes about tolerance and multiculturalism, then saying, without apparent irony, that ‘gypsies don’t want to work’, ‘they just destroy their houses then the state builds them new ones’ etc etc.

    Another young(ish) university-educated person of my acquaintance continues to believe that Hitler had some good points because, besides the Jews, he also persecuted the Roma. This is not a rare view either.

    With a few honourable exceptions, mainstream Slovak society simply refuses to accept that its own ignorance and prejudices are a major part of the problem, that Roma continue to have their opportunities stunted from birth, or even that discrimination against Roma is racism.

    I’m not defending any other countries here either. We must also be well aware of things that have happened recently in Italy and France. And, of course, the EU wants Slovakia to solve the issue more because western countries don’t want it on their doorstep than because they’re all that bothered about Roma’s position in society.

  30. Last year my charity undertook research into the attainment of Slovak and Czech Roma children at UK mainstream schools. We found that 85% of the researched group had attended special schools in Slovakia or the Czech Republic. All now went to UK mainstream schools. Their attainment was found to be just below average and rising (don’t forget many don’t speak English on arrival in UK and had been taught in a sub-standard learning environment).

    The myths that Roma can’t learn or are better off in special education are nonsense.

    The report is here: http://equality.uk.com/Education.html.

  31. NY

    Saying that this is not a problem of racism it is a lie. Having special schools for kids with learning problems is not racism, but choosing a race to populate this schools it is. Statements like the one before, where 3 or 4 Roma children make a difference in a classroom are not only politically wrong but outrageous. Roma people should be treated equally than white people and if the learning curve prolongs it is perhaps the wrong education approach or a problem in the whole population, should be treated conceptualize this way. The most ignorant and retarded short term solution it is to discriminate and divide by race. If Slovak schools with mixed population go slower, that could only be blaimed on the Slovak population being slower. Once is understood this way, will at its own pace change in one or 2 generations. Otherwise, this problem tyranic behaviour, a social accepted racism would continue to be a slovak society shameful characteristic.

    • George M

      Yes NY, blaming the Roma is rather like the Ayran Slovaks blaming the Roma on them all just having to become lea leaves .

      Logsar own inbreed racism comes out, when when he supports a Slovak Headmaster that just has create a special class of Aryrn Slovaks and if he didn’t do that, many students, well there well educated Parents of course would be the ones to make them leave.

      In my opinion this is ALL about racism, but I do agree about giving children who want to learn a better environment, but surely it should be all children getting that environment, not the Aryan few …the inference also from Loghead is that the Roma are dumb, stupid etc . What an awful thing to say about kids and the future of this country .

  32. Losgar

    About the topic: How to solve the problem? I don’t know.
    I just know that if it was my kid I would want my child to have a quiet enviroment for learning. In a class with more then 10% Roma kids it would be very difficult.
    Also creating classes for students with learning problems /which is probably majority of the Roma kids/ some teachers interpret as a good thing – the teachers can slow down, teach the same topic longer, students have more time to grasp the knowledge.

    As for the headmaster: There are a few primary schools like this in SVK. The parents either have finances and time to drive their children to next village primary schools every day or they beg the headmaster to create special classes for their kids.
    The headmasters often say that if they didn’t do that many students would leave.

    In my opinion this is not about racism, it’s about giving the children who want to learn a better enviroment.

    When I was a kid we had 1-2 Roma children /out of 28/ in our class and we never had any problems. Next class had about 5 of them and you could feel the difference.

    How to solve the problem Mrs.Mazurova?

    • Losgar

      No suggestions, anybody????? Don’t be shy!!!
      I meant suggestions not whinning.

      I suggest:
      1. At schools where Roma students are less then 50% segregation would be prohibited.

      2. At schools with majority of Roma students would be allowed to create classes with 50% Roma and 50% non Roma studentrs.

      3. The Roma students with big behavioral and learning problems would be put in one class and they would be taught be a special trained teacher /maybe trained in England/ to motivate the students and disciplined them at the same time. In this process I would involve Roma teachers as well.

      • George M

        Loghead , I guess you can just go on painting your own life in the Aryan race picture, for all the other members of this forum …

        There can be NO segregation of children by quota, kids are kids and all should treated the same. Roma students have big behavioral and learning problems because of people think such as Aryan you , that demand they need special help, when what they need is to be included in your society .

      • Dave Crawford

        So at schools where Roma children form less than 50% of the roll segregation and discrimination would still be OK?
        “Special trained teachers” – Are you suggesting that Sk teachers need special training to see past the colour of a childs skin?
        Why the hell should the UK or anyother country have to train Sk teachers?
        “Roma teachers” – I presume this was a Freudian slip – A teacher is a teacher irrespective of race, colour, religion or sex – but it’s nice to see how your mind works. By the way, members of the Roma community who have qualified as teachers are rarer than Euro 9 notes.
        “Roma children with behavioural and learning problems would be put in one class” – so the white Sk kids with the same problems would be in another class? isn’t that segregation?
        I am not an expert in educational matters but I would have assumed that at primary or pre-school level the teachers would be qualified to indentify behavioural problems and learning difficulties and trained to deal with this effectively before the child moves into education proper. Or do I presume that teachers in the Sk get their “Diplom” just for being able to stand at the front of the class with no requirement to understand child development, child psychology, stimulating interest, developing and maintaining the desire to learn, motivation, social development, identification of the principle four learning types etc. – or is that the job of other Mgr.s and Ing.s?

  33. George M

    I have a very good friend who works for a NGO in Slovakia, trying to assist the Roma people to a better life. Some of the stories he tells me of the wicked and terrible things fellow Slovak citizens ( nice white and educated people btw) do to the Roma, that would make your hair curl .

    Forced abortions and sterilization of Roma woman by racist doctors, 13 year old girls being forced into prostitution and the police turn a blind eye, because of payoffs they , prison camp walls being built around Roma Villages , people who owe loan sharks cash, being used as slaves in work gangs , working upto 20 hours a day .

    The Government here just turns a blind eye to the Human Rights abusive`s of the Roma, it suits them to win votes !

    • Losgar

      Tell your good friend to report these terrible things to the police. Do you understand? If your friend is a bit better person then you he should do it.
      And don’t tell me that the police won’t do anything, that would be a lie.

      And don’t tell me that he has reported that already and the police did nothing, that also would be a lie.

      And don’t tell me that he can’t do that because he has no proofs – tell him to do the right thing.

      And don’t tell me that English are civilized and decent people. That also would be a lie.

      • George M

        Rather the pot calling the kettle black here , Mr Policeman, Mr I live in China, I met Hilary Clinton at the White House, I went to Ronald Regan`s Funeral and you are Spiderman, Batman, Superman …

        Be nice, or I shall have you thrown off the website .

        BTW, My friend told his French Ambassador , he told the Minister and the Slovak Minister just shrugged his shoulder and said we do not consider these people really as aryan Slovaks, what would you have us do with these blood sucking immigrant ?

        Nice Guy eh ?

      • Dave Crawford

        I see that yet again because someone makes comments that you don’t like you brand them a liar.
        Well sunshine I can confirm by personal experience and the numerous, well publicised reports in the press that what George M has related is true.
        It would be a refreshing change if you were to actually contribute something tangable to this comments section – this is a Slovak problem, how would you, as a Slovak, deal with it? I am facinated to know because this “Roma” problem has been on the boil for decades and despite the millions of Euros that have been given to the Sk to solve it, as this article demonstrates, there appears to have been little progress. So Mr. Atypical Slovak could you please tell me and the rest of us who come from Net Contrubutor countries in the EU, what you ( Slovakia) has actually done with our money?
        As for what the English are or are not, what pray has that to do with the topic being discussed – the treatment of the Roma in Slovakia by the “white” Slovaks.

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