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Study claims Roma children are incorrectly diagnosed as mentally challenged

According to a study called “Losses from Exclusion of Roma” carried out by Anton and Ľubica Marcinčin, Roma children are often incorrectly placed in special schools or exclusively-Roma schools and classes near large Roma communities, the TASR newswire wrote.

According to a study called “Losses from Exclusion of Roma” carried out by Anton and Ľubica Marcinčin, Roma children are often incorrectly placed in special schools or exclusively-Roma schools and classes near large Roma communities, the TASR newswire wrote.

According to the study, Roma children may thus lose their chance to participate successfully in the labour market when they become adults. Estimates show that the relative proportion of Roma schoolchildren will increase from 12 percent in 2000 to 16 percent in 2030, TASR quoted from the study.

The authors claim that not as many Roma children are mentally challenged as generally believed. The problem lies in the diagnoses. Every eighth schoolchild in Slovakia is currently diagnosed as mentally subnormal. “If Roma children do not speak sufficiently good Slovak when enrolled (in school), they have to have the possibility of being educated in their mother tongue – with continual transfer to the Slovak language,” reads the report.

The Marcinčins claim that special schools should be cancelled and Roma children should be placed at normal primary schools. Such a step may save 0.2 of GDP by 2030, which represents €51 million, working on the assumption that there is no reason for more mentally disadvantaged children to come from among the Roma minority compared to the white majority. Education among Roma is very low compared to white Slovaks, statistics show. The study was initiated by the Open Society Foundation. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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