Education Ministry changes law in response to EC criticism

THE EDUCATION Ministry has prepared changes to the Education Act with the aim to improve education for children from a socially disadvantaged environment.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: Sme)

The amendment should be considered the response to the European Commission proceeding against Slovakia for unequal approach to the education of Roma children launched in late April, the SITA newswire reported.

Ombudswoman Jana Dubovcová has appreciated the steps of the ministry, and said she has been pointing to the problems for a long time.

Read also:EC criticises school segregation in Slovakia Read more 

The changes concern the education of children and pupils with special education needs, including those coming from the socially disadvantaged environment. The aim of the ministry is to achieve the situation when the special needs of physically disadvantaged children will not be exchanged with the needs of the children from disadvantaged environment, said ministry spokeswoman Beáta Dupaľová Ksenzsighová, as reported by SITA.

“The reason is that the development of a child in socially disadvantaged environment does not automatically mean the physical handicap which is essential when deciding whether the child or pupil will attend special school or special classroom,” Dupaľová Ksenzsighová said, as quoted by SITA.

The new law should contain five new measures, including the provision saying that the fact that the child comes from socially disadvantaged environment should not automatically attend a special school. Moreover, it should prevent segregation. The amendment should also set rules for operation of the special classroom, or set rules for benefits on pupils from socially disadvantaged environment. In addition, the changes should toughen up the inspection mechanisms of the country.

“It seems that when passing the measures to remove the violation of basic rights and freedoms the public defender of rights must not quit, even in the situation when it seems that there is no interest in adopting them,” Dubovcová said, as quoted by SITA. 

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