Brno promotes changes in education law in order to help Roma

August, 2007

Brno, the second largest Czech town with a strong Romany community, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education prepared an amendment to the education law to facilitate the situation of children from deprived localities, mainly of Roma origin.

Brno experts propose, among others, that parents who ask for the postponement of school attendance of their children should be obliged to send them to pre-school classes.
Dubska said such preparatory classes proved successful and helped children reach better results in school later on. However, some parents refuse to send their kids to these classes.
This is why the pre-school course should be obligatory for children of certain age.
The pre-school classes that have existed in Brno for 13 years, are most frequently attended by Roma, said Tomas Jilcik from the Brno Town Hall's education section, adding that the Roma are not lacking the classes so often.
Apart from the change in preparatory classes, Brno experts want to lower the number of pupils in the classes attended by children from socially deprived families, primarily Romanies, since teachers must work with these children more intensively, which is hard in large groups.
Schools claim that creating more classes would be beyond their capacities due to insufficient funding.
Dubska said a working group to seek the definition of a socially handicapped child was established at the Education Ministry.
The current regulations do not embed any relieves for schools that educate Romanies.
Czech schools receive above-standard subsidies for disabled children, those with learning disorders and for foreigners. Romanies are not included in any of these groups as they usually claim Czech nationality.
According to the municipal plan of social services released by the Town Hall, some 15,000 to 17,000 Romanies live in Brno. They come from various Romany communities that are not united. About 8,000 to 10,000 of them live in socially deprived localities.