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Polish Roma children shunted into special schools

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 27.10.2011 07:45
Two-thirds of the Roma children in Poland that have been placed in special schools on account of alleged learning difficulties are capable of studying in normal schools, finds a new study.

photo - AS

The research carried out on the initiative of the Association of Roma in Poland, together with psychologists from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, southern Poland.

“We expected such results, but we wanted to confirm them scientifically,” Roman Kwiatkowski, chairman of the association told the Gazeta Wyborcza daily.

Roma families had complained of discrimination against their children within the Polish school system.

Some 20 percent of Roma pupils have been placed in special schools.

The problem is particularly evident in southern Poland. Some 37 percent of pupils sent to special schools in the Opolskie voivodeship (province) are Roma children. In Malopolska the level is at 32 percent.

Researchers have indicated that initial help in improving the Polish language skills of the Roma pupils would be enough to get most children on track with their colleagues, and that sending them to special schools is not necessary.

The Association of Roma in Poland objected earlier this year, when it emerged that Roma had been banned from bars and clubs in the western city of Poznan.

Last Friday, Molotov cocktails were lobbed onto a Roma estate in the village of Krosnica, southern Poland, prompting community members to call for monitoring of the site.

The latest research concerning Roma pupils was funded by the independent Stefan Batory Foundation. (nh/pg)

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