OMBUDSWOMAN Jana Dubovcová says that current school aptitude tests violate the rights of children. The tests do not take into account the specific abilities of children from socially disadvantaged environments, especially those of the Roma, she told the press on August 20 when presenting the results of the survey carried out between May 14 and June 3.

The ombudswoman’s office approached 11 primary and 11 special schools across Slovakia, as well as 21 centres of pedagogical-psychological prevention and consulting (CPPPaP). The survey showed that when testing the school aptitude of children, the CPPPaPs use the same tests for all categories of children.

“Using the same tests means not respecting the specifics of certain groups of children, especially children from marginalised Roma communities, which means that children’s right to education is being violated,” Dubovcová said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. This results in these children being sent to special schools, which “predetermines the fate of the child and the education he or she can get”, she added.

Psychologist Oľga Bindasová, an administrator of the survey, said that the CPPPaP do not use the most up-to-date diagnostic methods, which can unintentionally lead to discrimination. The diagnostics, for example, do not take into consideration the practical intelligence of children.

“It is time for a change to diagnosing children; not only the intellect should be diagnosed,” Bindasová said, as quoted by TASR.

The ombudswoman has proposed several measures to change the system. This includes abolishing classrooms for children with light mental disabilities at special schools, making sure that the CPPPaPs will use up-to-date diagnostic methods and re-testing children who are set to attend special schools. Another step should be the introduction of a state programme that will focus on free-time activities for children from marginalised communities and supporting their development, as reported by TASR.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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