“This week, the Czech Republic declared before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that it will end segregated schooling for children of its Roma minority, estimated to number around 300,000.
Currently, the Czech system sends disproportionate numbers of Roma children into so called “practical” schools, where they receive an inferior education that leaves them without meaningful qualifications. But Vladimir Galuŝka, a deputy minister for foreign affairs, told UN members on Monday that “even the temporary placements of socially disadvantaged children in practical schools as a last resort measure to improve their education chances will be abolished and individual integration in mainstream schools will be preferred”.
If the minister’s words can be translated into action, this is tremendous news for future generations of Roma children, who have for too long been systematically shunted into an educational dead end that has left them little chance of economic success as adults. It would mark a long-delayed victory too for the 18 Roma children who brought a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights in 2000, winning a ruling in 2007 that the Czech Republic had violated their rights to non-discrimination and education, and ordering the government to redress the situation.”