Certain improvements have occurred in the integration of formerly segregated Roma pupils at the primary school on Jána Francisciho Street in Levoča, eastern Slovakia, but this still isn't enough, Amnesty International Slovakia (AIS) spokesperson Jana Vargovčíková said on Wednesday, May 22.
"Bringing the case before a court is one option ... if the situation isn't resolved or deteriorates further," Vargovčíková said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. She said that the primary school had moved several [non-Roma] children to ethnically-mixed classrooms. "It was a result of criticism and pressure from NGOs and parents of Roma children," said Vargovčíková. "The problem of segregation as such hasn't been resolved, however, so we'll continue to monitor the case ... and push for the scrapping of segregated classrooms that – according to our information – still exist at this school," she said.
Education Ministry spokesman Michal Kaliňák responded by saying that a thorough inspection was carried out at the school in March. "No form of segregation was found," he said. "The claim that Roma are separated from non-Roma, be it in the classrooms or canteens, wasn't confirmed [by the inspection]," said Kaliňák. Roma make up as many as 60 percent of all primary-school pupils in the town. According to Levoča’s mayor, Miroslav Vilkovský, only a tiny number of people in Levoča declared themselves to be Roma in the 2011 census, however. "It makes no sense to speak of segregation in this context," Vilkovský said at the beginning of the current school year.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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23. May 2013 at 10:00